The Shuk in Jerusalem
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 —
Beloved brothers and sisters in The Lord, Messiah Yeshua, Jesus Christ, to Whom all blessing and honor and glory and love belong in God The Father, The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. He is THE fullness and truly worthy of ALL praise
First – as briefly as possible- I will let you know that due to an assortment of yet unhealed physical problems, I have had a rather large number of hernias. I also have bleeding and other blood issues and do NOT respond well to surgical procedures, of which I have already had way too many.
Ten years ago I had an incarcerated epigastric hernia. The dangers of incarceratied hernia include gangrene, much like a burst appendix. At the time I was hospitalized for surgery and laid fasting on my back for 5 days while none of the surgeons who saw me were willing to take the risk of surgery because of my complications. They taught me how to push it in and told me to return to emergency if it became incarcerated again.
Last Tuesday night I awoke – and it had happened again, and could not be pushed in until 6 hours later in the emergency room. However the surgeon insisted that it HAD to be repaired NOW.
No, I have not had surgery yet.
So, it is now one week later. I again have laid on my back in the hospital while the surgical teams have debated the risks. NORMALLY, this is a rather simple surgery. Plus, I also have had bronchitis, with fever and difficulty in breathing. Yes, my husband had been away until this past Friday, but is now home!
So now I am home and resting for a while. Today, for the first time, I am feeling a bit stronger and able to sit up and write.
I have had a LOT of blessed prayer and am CERTAIN that God has it all in HIS plan and under His control. That’s just Who He IS. And I am surely nobody “special” and definitely NOT more loved than any other believer. JUST ONE OF HIS SHEEP, AND THAT IS OUR PORTION, AND I TRUST HIM FULLY FOR HIS HEALING, HIS TIMING, AND HIS PERFECT WILL.
But HE can make Himself known in hospitals too!
Even when we are feeling far from Him and feeling sorry for ourselves, but if we are willing…
So I have some ‘stories’!
I guess we all have these sort of day-dreams, right?
Since I was very young I wanted to be a Light House keeper, a shepherdess, and a forest lookout station keeper. Yep, I was a loner.
While in the hospital I was having a very difficult time staying focused on The Lord and even reading His Word. This is following two and a half weeks of a rich time with Him in His Word while my husband was away. I was getting more and more fretful seeming unable to stay on Him and to wash in His Word.
Hadassah Ein Kerem Hospital sits on a mountain overlooking the Jerusalem Forest, which is surprisingly large. Even the view from the 2nd floor is lovely, but I was on the 6th floor with an expansive view. The new wing of the hospital includes some really lovely secluded sitting areas, fully windowed, with just a chair or two. With a determination I took my Bible on Shabbat and found an empty one. I settled myself in the chair and looked over the quiet forest and said, “Lord…”and that was about it!
Along came a religious man to recite his prayers. I decided to wait until he was finished. As I waited, trying to focus on reading but not succeeding, I looked up over the forest and just thanked Him for His beauty. As I did, I saw a puff of smoke, followed shortly by an angry plume, coming up in an area between two roads, but nowhere near either of them.
Perhaps campers started a fire, I reasoned, and kept watching. The fire grew and I realized that I was in fact, watching the beginning of a forest fire. The wind was coming up and bringing it toward the hospital.
I ran to the nurse and said, “There is a fire starting in the forest! I do not have the fire department number and I think we need to call!”
The overworked nurse slowly looked up and peered at me skeptically over the top of her glasses. I continued undaunted. “It is heading toward the hospital!”
Ok, that got her. She skeptically dragged herself toward the window, expecting to find nothing. But then she saw it and realized that is was indeed the beginnings of what could quickly be an out of control fire. She turned and ran back and called the fire brigade.
I settled down into my now deserted corner and watched. From the way that the smoke was moving, the fire was indeed raging, bursting here and there, but after a fair amount of time I noticed that it now seemed contained to one area, and was no longer spreading. Without being able to see any fire fighters, the smoke became angry as if it were fighting back. Then suddenly, after a half an hour or so, it went out. The whole scene must have lasted little more than an hour, I think.
I sat there for a long time in my corner-turned-watchtower, turning the incident over before The Lord who seemed near again. “Okay, Lord. What was THAT about? What are You trying to tell me? And what am I supposed to DO with the things that I see?’ I asked Him.
“Watch and tell,” was the sum of what I felt He said to my heart.
May The Lord make us all FAITHFUL in our part. So I will try to watch and to LISTEN (a part of watching) and to tell faithfully.
And then I met Rasheed.
Perhaps you recognize that as an Arab name, as it is.
In Israeli hospitals, the activity begins on Sunday and the rooms fill up quickly. There is continual pressure and activity. The aim is to discharge as many patients as possible by Friday, before Shabbat begins. On Shabbat the hospital can be pretty empty.
It was on a Thursday that I first met Rasheed. He was heading the cleaning crew and came in with a loud, “Shalom, coolum.” (Shalom everybody.) He had a big smile. It was lovely.
I smiled back and he joyfully went about his work. Then he came over for a break and sat down with me. We were soon talking. This is VERY much the Israeli way, in that everyone talks to everyone and nothing is considered too personal.
He was very likeable, warm and inquisitive. After the initial questions about where I came from and why and many questions about Alaska, I began asking him about himself.
“I LOVE learning.” he said. “I read in three languages and love to read anything.”
His Hebrew was good, although I’m not the best judge, but his English was weak.
I asked him if he was a Christian.
“No, I am a Moslem,” he answered. “But I have read your Tenach and love the stories…”
I wondered which ones. David bringing the foreskins of the Philistines to Saul? Joshua conquering the land?
I asked him if he had also read the New Testament (Brit h’hadisha) but he was unfamiliar with the word in Hebrew or English. So I said, “The part about Jesus.”
He looked at me in surprise. “Are you a Christian?” he asked.
“I am a Messianic Jew,” I answered. “So, I am Jewish and yes, I am a disciple of Jesus and follow Him.”
His story began to unfold. He is 28 and has six sons − three of his own and three that he had to raise up as seed for his dead. His brother was killed fourteen years ago.
My mind immediately jumped to the fact that fourteen years ago, we were in the midst of a terribly bloody intifada. He then told me that twelve years ago his father also had an accident and has been unable to work ever since. Pieces of his story began to emerge:
Rasheed said that he was a teacher but that it is hard teaching in the Old City, so he is back in Teacher’s College now − near our apartment − getting his Master’s Degree. He wants to teach Special Ed as his first son has trouble speaking. So, he is working on a cleaning crew and going for his Master’s Degree, raising 6 sons because of a dead brother and injured father.
When I asked about his wife he told me that she lost her mind and is no longer in the picture so he must care for all of the boys. Plus, he has osteoporosis and fibromyalgia but he must be strong for them and never show them that he is really weak and that SOMEHOW he must keep going. He wanted them to go to he university, but he is so very, very tired.
My antenna went up. He had every reason possible to carry out an attack. More and more of the “lone wolf attackers” have difficult personal problems and use this form of suicide to solve their problems. First, they are celebrated as a hero, a martyr, which makes them the strongest of the strong and respected. The financial problems of the family are solved as the Palestinian Authority pays the family a very large monthly salary, the price of a “shahid” or martyr.his family is cared for. Thirdly, it is a way out of his seemingly impossible life.
The whole time we were talking I was looking deeply into his eyes but there was a veil there. I also saw two fires. One very soft and kind and loving. The other, very wicked and flashing with hatred. Staring steadfastly into the center of his eyes I said, “Rasheed, how do you keep your heart tender and soft?”
He looked confused, “I do not understand these words, tender and soft.”
In Hebrew I said, “You know the word ‘ka’shey (hard)? Well, soft is the opposite.”
“I never thought about that,” he answered.
“But I think that this is a very important question because you have a very hard life. You could easily let your heart grow bitter and full of hate, this must not happen because love is the source of life.”
He looked surprised. We spoke only a little more and then someone came to call him back to work. He hugged me and thanked me and told me that he liked me very much and would come back and talk more.
When I was left alone, I became concerned. Yes, for him, but also, being a Jerusalemite, the alarm bells went off in my inner being that this could be a dangerous situation, so I alerted a few for prayer. I lifted him in prayer. Please pray for his salvation.
How grateful I am to Him for His creative opportunities. May we all be found faithful…wise as serpents, gentle as doves, for His glory.
your sister J