It has been a while! Here’s what God has taught me over the past three weeks:
Pre-Israel: God is provider
Israel: God is provider
Post-Israel: God is provider
Sensing a common theme? God has revealed himself as THE provider in several different ways here lately. If there’s one thing I have learned about God’s provisions: they don’t always come in the packages we want or expect. In fact, often times God’s answer to my prayers is the [[exact opposite of what I wanted or expected]]. Sometimes I get disappointed, nearsighted and forget that God is constantly providing, even when I don’t understand or like his provision.
John Newton nails it when he says, “How happy are they who can resign all to God, see his hand in every dispensation, and truly believe that he chooses better for us than we possibly could for ourselves.”
Here lately God’s provisions have come through ‘No’s’ and closed doors. His clarity–exposing the good, the bad and the ugly– is a provision. Even when I don’t like what his clarity exposes, his clarity is still a provision, and so I have reason to praise. May I choose to delight in his provisions regardless of the package in which they come. A verse that I have heard 1,000 times that never gets old nor mastered is Proverbs 3:5 “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.” I have been replaying and replaying Will Reagan and the United Pursuit Band’s “Nothing I Hold Onto”
(( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XCiOL7PIi0o )) which is taken from this verse. It says,
I lean not on my own understanding, my life is in the hands of the maker of Heaven
I give it all to you God, trusting that you’ll make something beautiful out of me
I will climb this mountain with my arms wide open
There’s nothing I hold onto.
If you haven’t heard it, I insist that you look it up right now…
This in mind, I am able to laugh at the days to come knowing and trusting that God is my provider and that He opens his hand and satisfies the desires of every living thing (psalm 145:16) How rich! Laugh on, sista!
Our tour guide in Israel was a Messianic Jew, which is a Jew who believes that Jesus is the promised Messiah. I loved getting to hear the gospel from his perspective. He spoke again and again about the countless evidences that confirm that Jesus was and is the Messiah– from the fulfillment of the scriptures, to his miracles, teachings and everything in between… it is undeniable that Jesus is the Christ.
It is heartbreaking then, that the Jewish people have missed God’s provision because they were expecting his provision to come in a different package.
This picture was taken at the Western Wall, or the Wailing Wall, one of the few portions remaining of the Temple in Jerusalem. Jewish men and women go to wall to pray and cry out to God to rebuild the temple and for the promised Messiah.
[They are praying for a Messiah that has already come]
God has already answered their prayers, but they have failed to recognize it because it did not come in the way in which they expected.
“For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground;
he had no form or majesty that we should look at him,
and no beauty that we should look at him, and no beauty that we should desire him.
He was despised and rejected by men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief;
and as one from whom men hide their faces
he was despised, and we esteemed him not.” Isaiah 53:2-3
Jesus would come in the least likely package. Is this not wildly indicative of our God? I think back over who the Lord used throughout the scriptures… the least likely candidates: Moses– the ineloquent, river basket charity case, the murderer who fled the scene; David– the young, shepherd boy with a sling and 5 rocks, an adulterer and murderer; Abraham– the old, dried up and crusty fella, and his laughing, doubting and ‘take-matters-into-your-own-hands’ wife, Sarah (whom I am rightfully named after); Rahab–a prostitute; Esther– a foreigner, exile and orphan; Ruth– an alienated widow; The disciples– a ragtag group of fishermen, tax collectors and other societal outcasts. He uses the least likely. The messiah came in the form of a baby, born in an animal pin, to a lowly couple, in a lowly town. He so would. This is our God… I love him.
May I, may we, not miss the Lord’s provisions when they come in ways that we could not foresee and do not expect.
Top 5 favorite places we visited in Israel:
1. This is the location where Jesus taught the sermon on the Mount Matthew ch. 5-7
2. These are from the Sea of Galilee (John 4:46, 6:1)
3. Caesarea Acts ch. 8-11
4. This was taken in the Arminian quarter market in Jerusalem.
5. My sweet friend Haley and I preparing to mount and ride camels in the Israeli dessert at a Bedouin camp.
Getting the opportunity to walk where God walked while he was on earth was precious to me, and something I will never forget. Several people in our group got rings with something written in Hebrew on them. Here’s mine:
it says Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only be careful, and watch yourselves closely so that you do not forget the things your eyes have seen or let them slip from your heart as long as you live. Teach the to your children and to their children after them.”