Once again, it’s time to hear from our sister in Jerusalem about what she is witnessing there as a believer in Yeshua. Put your prayer shawls on and pray for Israel and Sister J. Now here she is …
Oh dear brothers and sisters, I greet you from a hidden place in The Rock with much love and a longing to let you know how special you are as His body. May we glorify Him and may He be blessed, and may this letter be an encouragement and blessing to you for His glory.
It is difficult to believe that this three-week period of being on my own is rapidly drawing to an end as my husband is scheduled to return on Monday. He has thoroughly enjoyed his trip.
And did I write, as I had planned? No. Did I go to the zoo, as I had planned? No. Did I do much of what I had planned to do? No. Nor do I feel that the time was wasted but it was a time of being secreted away, often just in His Presence with no words, and often finding myself just doing what I felt He wanted me to do. I was hoping for intense times of prayer, but even that wasn’t my portion.
Yesterday and the day before I had the great joy of watching His power displayed in the form of a magnificent storm. This was unusual for this time of year because the sheer amount of rain that poured out upon us. What a blessing. It began with a full 12 hours of heat lightening. We have had a sha’rav (heat wave) with dry desert winds blowing from the south for a number of days. The grand crashes of thunder sent shivers down sensitive spines. Then, suddenly, the precious water began falling in sheets and continued for more then a day.
Our southern most city of Eilat alone received 1/3 of its annual rainfall during this period and more then 60 tourists needed to be rescued from flash floods while on a hike through a wadi in the south. Meanwhile, the temperature plunged from a very hot 33 degrees Celsius (about 91 Fahrenheit) to 11 degrees (about 52 F) in the same amount of time. I loved it as did most of the people that I saw and so did the dusty trees and flowers.
The air smells so fresh and clean but my greatest delight is the way The Lord personally blessed me in it. You see, when we moved to this new apartment, we brought with us two of our small trees. One was a fig tree that I had bought for my husband as a gift. These are now living at the bottom of our 27 steps and around back of the apartment. I was to keep them watered while my husband was gone, but I couldn’t get the back gate opened to water them. Twice during the 3 weeks I did succeed in getting back there and they did fine until the sha’rav. I looked out of the back window and there was my fig tree wilting away badly. I brought a bottle of water down to it but once again, could NOT unlock the gate. I prayed, “Oh Lord, please make a way for this little tree to be watered and not die.”
Well, He sure did! And I felt personally hugged and filled with thanksgiving, as the little tree is full and green today. Thank You Lord for caring about the little things.
During this time I have been blessed with much marvelous and encouraging fellowship both from out of the country and within. This too is something I have greatly needed. He knows our needs.
The last time that I wrote to you was the day before our Memory day- Yom h’zikeron. I had intended to write again of the vastness and permeating presence of grieving in a nation where nearly every family has lost at least one, if not many, love ones to war and/or terror. The nation stood silent during the minute long siren at 8 pm last Sunday night, announcing the beginning of the time to remember the fallen together. The nation seemed huddled together as one very tight family. Regular television and radio was stopped at the time and hearts opened up to share the stories, the memories, and the history. It was really quite humbling and very dramatic with raw emotion wrapped around it.
In developing the therapies to help people with posttraumatic stress, it was found that retelling the events was very helpful. So the entire nation sat and listened to one another. Names, dates, photos, montages of precious lives were shown, baby pictures, school photos, that first day in the army, the last photo before that one was ripped away suddenly. The family openly wept and the nation wept with each one. The siren sounded again, this time for 2 minutes at 11am on Monday. Be thankful for the sacrifices made, be thankful for the moments that we can share together in this life, be thankful for the nation born in a day, the promised land restored and the dream that these stood for that so many paid with blood.
The intensity of the day of Memory was almost unbearable. And it was inconceivable that we should be able to go from such grief to the heights of joy ushered in at 8pm on the same night. A few notes on the horn sounded it’s forlorn command and then suddenly a a major musical note signaled the flag bearers to raise the flag from half mast to fly again above the nation. The command to “Remember” turned upward from the graves to the wonder of those as if in a dream, the hope of 2,000 years, and the written promise. Could it be true? Such a painful price was paid in blood and is still being paid for the re-birth of the nation that God SAID would be re-born. The wonderful chapter 37 of the prophet Ezekiel became real before our eyes.
You know the scriptures. First He brings us back from the four corners of the earth where we have been scattered by Him because of our disobedience and THEN He reveals Himself. Now THAT day will be a wonder to never be surpassed until He rolls it all up as a scroll and says, “IT IS FINISHED!”
Every Yom h’atzmaoot (Independence Day), I watch the amazing ceremony, and I wonder how in the world they are able to pull it off, to make that dramatic and impossible transition from grief to joy, to go from the minor note to the major one, to lift the subdued lights to dancing ones, and to express again the bigness of the realities before our eyes. I think, But of course they can because HE did and HE is and HE will! AND DIDN’T THE DISCIPLES GO FROM GRIEVING TO JOY WHEN THEY REALIZED THAT HE WAS, INDEED, ALIVE AND NO LONGER DEAD?
And if HE was able to really call this scattered and broken people from the ends of the earth back to our ancient homeland, if HE could turn the world’s eyes and hearts for one moment to okay the plan that they would later, collectively, curse, if HE could cause the desert to blossom, then HE can also both defend this tiny nation AND even more important, open the corporate eyes of the heart of the nation in one day to “look upon Him Whom we have pierced.”
YES these dry bones can live…and will!
Each year I try to read a book before Yom h’atzmaoot to remind myself of the impossibility of the events that paved the streets that I walk on and to remind myself that I am looking into eyes that have seen these events. This year I am re-reading Watchmen on the Walls by Hannah Hurnard, who also wrote Hinds Feet on High Places. It is a lesser-known book but unique in many ways. After a brief history, we get to read her diaries from our war of Independence as she was living on ha ne’vi’im street (the street of the prophets) in the center of Jerusalem near to the Old City Walls. Her view was unique in that she was living right in the center as a believer.
I read accounts of those here, but there were precious few believers then. As I sat to write this letter I read some lines that she wrote and it so well tied this letter together. This is what she wrote about as the great attacks of the war and the siege of Jerusalem eased a bit and she had the gift of several weeks alone in the quiet, where she planned to write about what had happened:
“I had high hopes of filling in the lonely weeks happily and profitably, but at first nothing happened as planned. I found that mentally I was very tired. My mind almost refused to concentrate on the work, and the interruptions were endless… Although the first week after their departure was comparatively quiet, everything happened with a rush afterwards, and we had two of the most sensational weeks of the summer.”
I had to laugh. Yes, Lord! These three weeks alone did NOT go as I had planned. I have NOT written as I hoped nor answered personal mail. I am not in a war, and certainly NOT in the siege of Jerusalem, but I found my mind and body tired. I have been drinking from His well and believing that He is sorting many things out.
What a GOD we serve. He is Good and full of mercy. To know Him and follow Him is the whole of it, isn’t it? And if He can do this for one of us, surely He is able to open the eyes of this nation in a day, as He said that He will.
I end this letter with so much love. May our Faithful God BLESS you in The powerful, loving Name of Yeshua h’Meshiach, Jesus Christ, Lord of glory.
your sis J