Hey there! How’s everybody doing? Hope all y’all are doing well! So, are we all sick to death of the political barrage yet? Do we have a clue for whom we will vote? Are we looking to a new President to ‘fix’ America? Honestly, the only hope I have for fixing America is a massive move of Americans in repentance and faith toward God and following His ways. In the meantime, it seems like bad just gets worse, and my kids and grandkids are dealing on a daily basis with things I never had to think about at their age! Makes me think about my last trip to Israel. So, grab a glass of something cold and find a comfy spot to relax a minute. I’ll tell you about Israel.
We were in Bethlehem when some minor violence broke out. God is good, we weren’t in the middle of anything. We were warned quite sternly, however, to stay with the group, stay on the main beaten path, and not to wander off alone anyplace. Our Israeli guide with 25 years’ experience explained to us that if we were off someplace we shouldn’t be as tourists, and we got in the middle of local violence, they could not help us. He also told us that Israel depends on tourism for their economy, and they don’t have any problem where the tourist tracks are.
While we were shopping at a store in Bethlehem, on ‘the other side of the wall’, we heard a bit of noise. When we got back on the bus, the guide told us that some young people on one side of the wall were throwing rocks at soldiers on the other side; some tear gas was launched and that was that.
We were in Bethlehem the night a young man was killed; the incident made international news. Yes, we were within blocks and heard the gunshots at 3am. The next morning, there were eight additional police officers having breakfast at the hotel.
When we were allowed past the Western wall to the Temple Mount, we had to pass through two different checkpoints with metal detectors. Our priest was actually searched, looking for a cross; he was merely wearing a medal of Our Lady, as we’d been warned to leave crosses on the bus. I had some loose change in my neck ID pouch, and I managed to smuggle in two rosaries. One of them belongs to my grandson. I’ll tell him the story when he is older.
On the Temple Mount, controlled by Muslims, our guide led us to a ‘shady spot’ near a small group of trees which were planted in a raised stone bed, above the plaza. Then we saw a small group of Orthodox Jews escorted across, while the Muslim men shouted threats and insults at them. This was serious business; there were 9 armed soldiers – one at the point, three on each side, one at the rear, and about 20 feet further to the rear was an armed soldier watching their backs. It looked like something from a movie, but this was for real. This is daily life in the Holy Land.
With all this going on, were we scared? Nope. Why? Those folks were THERE to protect us. God was there to protect us. Our guardian angels were there to protect us. All we needed to do was stay on track and not wander off someplace. Would I go back? In a heartbeat. I felt completely safe and at peace.
Life is like that, too. God is always there to protect us, but He can’t do much if we purposely walk away and get into situations we shouldn’t be in. Yes, He is all powerful. But don’t forget, He gave us all free will, and will not violate that. The free will is where we get into so much trouble! If we are someplace we shouldn’t be, doing something we shouldn’t be doing, He often allows the natural consequences to discipline us. But He never, ever, leaves us alone. He’s right there, just waiting for us to cry out to Him to save us. We are safest walking right next to Him, hand in hand, watching for Him, doing what He tells us to do. We live in a fallen world; there will be sickness, death, and trials. Those are enough, we don’t need to go looking for more trouble!
How about you? Are you walking safely with Jesus? Or are you wandering around by yourself? If you are someplace you shouldn’t be in life, and can’t find your way out, find a pastor or a priest. They will be glad to show you the way back to Jesus and His protection. He’s right there, waiting for you.