I lost God more than 4000 years ago.
I started out like everyone else, a blessed child in a cursed, fallen world. Like everyone else, I had to work for my keep. Work hard I did, tilling the ground, fighting thistles and weeds, to bring forth crops, provide food for my family. I wasn’t too bad a farmer at all.
The earth seemed so new then. So clean, green, quiet. Relatively, that is. Nothing like it is today. No distractions per se, but still, my thoughts wandered out in the fields.
I didn’t really listen to my parents growing up. Self-proclaimed sinners. Always trying to make up for something. Scrambling to please the Lord. It looked like way too much work, more than any physical labor, all the floundering they did.
Maybe that was my first mistake. Yeah. And it was a big one. Mom and Dad tried teaching me about God. I didn’t listen, so I didn’t know him as I should have. Do the doctrine, know God’s will. Or is it the other way around?
Regardless, back then, obedience was for losers.
Of course I didn’t forget what I said. I can’t forget it. I shudder to think it. Who actually says that? “Who is the Lord that I should know him?” Who am I now? God is still God, but what’s become of me?
And then came my stupid little brother. That’s what I thought at the time. He was better at everything. Better at listening. Maybe he was better at shepherding than I was at my job, but I doubt it. He was also obedient, faithful. But all I saw was how much more everyone else loved him. I hated that. I hated him.
I hated God.
Those thoughts possessed me while I worked. They wrested my dreams. Loathing my brother was an obsession. It consumed my life. Looking back, my heart was so cold, so small. It didn’t even seem to be beating.
I made no friends, really. They say nobody likes a downer, but misery sure does love company. Love. That’s what the scriptures say. I guess that’s what I felt for him, my only friend. Friend. The only one who clung to me at that time. I clung to him, too. I let him into my life, listened only to him. He never left my side. Until, well.
Sure, I see that now: He was a wrong friend, the wrongest friend anyone could ever have. I mean, was that really love I felt for him?
But this friend, or whatever he was, he told me things. He said I was special. He pointed how different I was, that I was too good for anyone else. He showed me things: I was older; I was superior to my brother; I was entitled. He billowed my jealousy. He fed my ego.
Was I being naive? Do you know what I mean? The offering? Go along with it, he said. And I did whatever he told me; I obeyed him, respected him, trusted him. So what do I do? It wasn’t the best of my harvest, so of course God rejected it.
I wasn’t even thinking. Of course Abel was God’s favorite, because he was everybody’s favorite. Walking in holiness. Of course he offered the firstlings of his flock, and that humiliated me. It pissed me off.
Yet, God still gave me a choice. A chance. Which I didn’t take. He was upfront with me, but I had none of it.
Then things were never the same.
It’s never worth it to be that mad. There was God, who I thought was making me feel guilty, and then, you know, the other side, telling me what I wanted to hear.
The other side. He promised me things. Victory over my brother.
We swore secrecy in everything. He dangled death over our heads if we revealed anything, and we believed him.
We. My wife and I. We swore we would do anything he told us to. We had to.
His plan. I clearly chose his plan.
It is possible to choose no agency. Why else would I be here?
He promised me gain and success. Freedom.
I knew he’d keep his promises.
But I had to kill my brother first.
I promised to murder my brother.
That sounds so absurd now.
Now. 4000 years. It’s all the same.
Eternally, the same.