I had a thought related to John’s post comparing Abraham and the new miniseries, The Bible, and how they depicted God’s call for Abraham to sacrifice Isaac. Now, I’ve never seen TCM’s Abraham, so I can’t speak to their depiction. But The Bible portrayed Sarah as a first-class ninny.
I’m pretty sure that wasn’t their intention. No doubt Sarah’s running and shrieking and general hysteria was intended to be a contrast to Abraham’s stoic handling of the situation. See, Sarah’s a mother, and apparently the best way to convey a mother’s love is to show her two cards short of a deck and running around like a newly-shot chicken.
Really??! This is the same Sarah that had spoken with God? God saved Sarah from the consequences of Abraham’s cowardice (Gen. 20), but she has so little faith in God (or love for Him) that she loses her mind here? Sarah, who paid such a heavy price for doubting God and deciding to take His place (see Hagar and Ishmael), learned so little from her sins? Really??!
Sarah had a proven relationship with God. She and Abraham had weathered a marriage fraught with suffering and difficulty – and mostly at each other’s hands! Had she no relationship with her husband either? The best that could be done to portray the mother of God’s chosen people was this?! I suppose that showing her in prayer, crying out to God, wouldn’t pack the same punch. And by punch, I mean the Great Lie.
God is not good.
God is hard and cruel and mean.
God hurts people for fun – there’s no purpose to it.
This insidious lie can show up anywhere, including a miniseries about the Bible produced in all earnestness. There’s Abraham, all stoic and hard, holding down Isaac, who’s doing his best impression of an abducted child in an after-school special. And all of this is interspersed with Sarah, wailing and shrieking her husband’s name, running toward the mountain to stop the unfeeling Abraham from committing this horrific act to please his cruel and unloving God.
It made me angry to watch this scene, and it hurt my heart. But mostly, it was a timely reminder that this great, foundational lie is everywhere. As Martha said, it’s in my heart and in yours. It rockets up when the right buttons are pushed, and it’s so intrinsically woven into our very cells that we often don’t even recognize how pervasively it manifests in how we think and see and speak.
God is good. He is the ONLY good. And He does not amuse Himself with our suffering.
Romans 8:28 HCSB
We know that all things work together
for the good of those who love God:
those who are called according to His purpose.