By Callie Mitchell, SAVED News International Correspondent, Jerusalem, Israel
Life in Israel can be hard and not just for me. A good number of our friends struggle with the economy, the bureaucracy, the lack of “creature comforts,” the mold in the winter, and the head lice the kids constantly bring home in the spring. Then there’s the wars and rumors of wars. Sometimes I find myself crying out, “Lord, where is the milk and honey?”
Over the years, though, the greatest strategy I’ve learned for living here well is to zoom out, and look at the big, wonderful miraculous picture of this place.
Lately I’ve found that big picture through meditating on Jeremiah 32:37-41. Its one of my favorite passage about Israel because it reveals a picture of God’s heart. I won’t quote the whole thing but the end says, “Yes, I will rejoice over them to do them good, and I will assuredly plant them in this land, with all My heart and with all My soul.”
This verse is the only time in the whole of scripture that describes something the Lord is passionate about doing with His whole heart and His whole soul. And what is He so passionate about here? Planting the Jewish people in the Land of Israel!
In studies on God’s character, we know that He is immutable. That means He is unchanging, with a constant character, and faithful to keep His promises. If He spoke this word forth in ancient times, then it still holds true today, since He doesn’t change in what He love and what He hates. Even more so, He covenanted this the Land of Israel to the Jewish people as an everlasting possession, and that is a promise faithful to keep!
God LOVES the nation Israel and He LOVES that specific geographic Land as well. 1 Kings 8:28-29 tells us “My Name shall be there,” meaning this nation and place bears His name like no other place in the whole world. The topography of the Jerusalem’s Old City, is even in the shape of the Hebrew character, “Shin” which represents the fire of God!
Even more so, when the people Israel are dwelling in the Land of Israel He rejoices with His whole heart and soul! Today we call this move of the Jewish people into the Land, Aliyah. By Israel’s law of return, citizenship is available to anyone with one Jewish grandparent. This great work of Aliyah that He is doing is hard on the people arriving, but it is something we should all rejoice in with Him, as we are called to love what He loves and hate what He hates.
Zooming out and remembering that makes the hard days worth the effort. Living here and contributing to this work bring His people in the Land brings my heavenly father joy. So what if I forget to heat the water in the morning and have to take a cold shower! Sometimes we just need to have the Lord’s big picture view to keep enduring, and to do so with joy!