In Genesis 22, we are told that “God put Abraham to the test” by telling him to take his son Isaac and sacrifice him as a burnt offering. Father and son set out to the land of Moriah. “Where is the sheep for the burnt offering?” wonders Isaac, who is carrying the firewood. Isaac is bound and laid on the altar, on top of the wood. Surely both the father and the son are worried, but the Bible does not tell us this; we must remember that in the Bible the experience of worry is associated with iniquity. Instead, the message of this famous story is that psychological strength stems from faith, faith gives courage, and brings reward. We hear no word of protest from Isaac, and in fact he disappears from the story after Genesis 22:10, to reappear only two chapters later, when he meets Rebekah. The story of the sacrifice casts the spotlight on Abraham’s love and fear of God, not Isaac’s thoughts and feelings.
The Bible excludes any sign of worry. Even if we believe that Abraham’s faith was so strong that he did not worry, it is hard to imagine that young Isaac did not fear for his life when he was bound and put on the altar. But this story, which depicts an archetypal worrying situation, does not recognize the existence of worry. It does not allow the expression of worry. Does it assume that, ideally, we can and should not worry?
When I began writing this book, I thought that my concluding chapter would guide the reader to banish worry and attain peace of