Jerusalem Journal # 184
“…for such a time as this.” So read the words of a man who saw the hand of God at work and gave counsel in a critical, even potentially dangerous day when the collision of kingdoms, cultures, and passions threatened his existence, his people, and their generations to follow.
The Megillah of Esther, or scroll detailing the epic story of the Biblical heroine and her wise uncle Mordechi, rolls out its yearly message of 11th-hour deliverance and hope at the very time when the fields and mountains of Israel are adorned in their most spectacular royal robes of wildflowers and lush green grass. The snowy crown of Mt. Hermon, glistening in splendor, is ensconced high above the Sea of Galilee. The very landscape joyfully shouts, “New beginnings!” “Victory over death!” “Future!”
The Hebrew word for “time” is eyt. It is a word used prophetically in Scripture when speaking of an appointed time, the day of one’s death, the migration of birds, the birth of a child, and of the seasons. Beyond being a word of prophecy, it is a word of destiny.
The Book of Ecclesiastes poetically highlights the God-gripped importance of time when it says, “There is an appointed time for everything…A time to give birth, and a time to die…A time to plant, and a time to uproot what is planted…A time for war, and a time for peace (Ecc. 3).”
As Creator of time, His role in the events of each of our lives is well-stated by King David who cried, “But as for me, I trust in You, O Lord, I say, “You are my God, my times are in Your hand (Psalms 31:15).”
This week, all around the world, those tracking the story of Esther (or Hadassah as she was known in Hebrew) remember that time, that eyt, nearly 2,500 years ago, when a plot to destroy the Jews was exposed, overturned, and the life of a future nation was spared.
Gary and I are feeling that our lives and future here are literally being weighed at this time. Our ability to remain in Israel as residents, The Writers’ Gathering event in April, the television pilot we are exploring which would focus on the amazing mix of people in Israel’s medical world, our creative nests we call home in Jerusalem and in the Galilee, and most importantly Gary’s health are being assailed by the enemies of fear and uncertainty. Last June’s diagnosis of aggressive prostate cancer and last week’s REJECTION of our Residency Status application to Israel’s Interior Ministry have challenged us to keep our eyes on The Lord.
The recent CT scan shows much improvement after 41 rounds of radiation and for that we are so grateful; however, there are some evidences that his body is not yet clear of cancer and side effects are draining. Regarding our ability to continue living in Israel, word has come to us through an inside source that our application was rejected on the basis that we are seeking political asylum for humanitarian reasons because of persecution in our home country. Nothing could be further from the truth. That struck us at heart level. Either our file was mixed up with another or we have been the target of a direct attack.
This morning, with the clock ticking on time allowed for a Residency appeal, we asked God for the next step. I sensed we were to find an uncut rock, write on a piece of paper both our fears and the truth we know about our purpose here. We bound the paper around the rock as a symbolic reminder that we are clinging to and casting our cares upon “The Rock” Who has promised to sustain us and keep us from being shaken. Suddenly, I looked out our living room window to see a magnificent flock of storks swirling over the Sea of Galilee. Like a rainbow, the appearance of migrating storks has been one of the “signs” which has given us hope in discouraging times past.
The nation of Israel is also, once again, facing the threat of those intent on wiping them from the map, ironically the same nation Esther faced 2500 years ago. National elections set for March 17th could change the course of both internal and global policy, not to mention security.
We and this nation we now call home are in a critical time, needing your prayers and an Esther outcome–one where favor is extended, life is prolonged, and rejection is reversed. “O Lord…My times are in Your hand.”
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