It's good to be "home."
I don't know the origin of the oft quoted "home is where the heart is," but here, in the land of Israel, I say without hesitation, the birthplace of our King is definitely where my heart. The Bible pronounces it as our home for the first thousand years of eternity, so I encourage everyone to make at least one trip one this side of glory. I suppose just so you will have something to compare it with; the before and after.
I have a lot of then and now images and experiences etched in my memory. This trip marks my thirteenth excursion to the Holy Land, but since my last visit eight years ago, much about the landscape has changed. As we made our way from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem the expansion of "settlements" was astounding. Less than a decade ago, an area that was barren, dry and desolate, now is a bustling apartment filled city with flora and fauna lined boulevards. It was amazing and encouraging to see the growth of the nation inhabiting the land of their birthright.
And before you work yourself up thinking I'm making a political statement - don't bother. To me there is no politics involved when it comes to Israel. The Bible says it plainly and I trust and believe it emphatically. However, there is plenty of evidence not everyone shares this belief.
The other remarkable and most notable difference I saw on our journey were the fences. At first I wasn't sure what I was seeing. On both sides of the highway were 10 to 12' high barbed wire fences. It formed an angry looking corridor for tourists unfamiliar with the perils of having terrorists across the street.
And before you work yourself back up thinking I'm making a sweeping statement about the Arabs who live here - don't bother. It is what it is. Those who wish to "wipe Israel off the face of the map," are living in the very place they seek to destroy. I don't know the origin of the quote, "cutting your nose off to spite your face," but...
I'm just saying.
It is a God-sized problem that awaits God's to return to set things right.
Once we dropped our baggage off at the hotel, we headed up to the Hadassah Hospital for an appointment with an opthomologist researching Macular Degeneration (my friend works for a foundation in the states that helps the visually impaired). It seems Israel has state of the art research and she wanted to inquire about current and future studies. The meeting location also gave us an opportunity see the stained glass windows of Marc Chagall in the hospital synagogue. Dedicated in 1962, the 12 windows depict his interpretation and impressions of the twelve tribes. Several of the windows were damaged during the reunification of Jerusalem in 1967. The hospital contacted Chagall with great distress, to which the artist replied, "You take care of the war, I'll take care of the windows."
We're here in the land fighting the good fight of faith, we're throwing open the windows of our hearts and experiencing the blessed breeze of His Spirit.
"For He Himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility." Ephesians 2:14
At peace, still smiling
In His service,