Israel and I, A Love Story

 

Josh and I returned home late Sunday night from an absolutely wonderful evening with around 80 students from Roberts Wesleyan College and about 2,000 people from the Rochester area. We stepped down from a limo bus with bellies full of desserts and sparkling cider—and with hearts and minds full of a lot to consider.

We were all gathered for a Night to Honor Israel.

This night has caused me to look back on my life and recollect the many moments when God has tugged on my heartstrings to intercede for Israel, and when I—unable to see what the Jewish nation has to do with me—have done nothing.
In elementary school, I gravitated to the stories behind kid-friendly recipes for foods like hamentaschen and challah that I would encounter in Highlights magazines.  I later taught myself the Four Questions of Passover and sang them in Hebrew for a school talent show. In high school the only boy to catch my eye was my future husband whose endearing “Jew-fro” led countless strangers to inquire whether he and I were ethnically Jewish.
As I grew older and my faith and theology began to become my own, my brief interactions with Israel became more serious and thought-provoking. My most beloved professor of a class on the literature of the Inklings admitted to observing all of the major Jewish holidays with her family despite being a Christian with no connection to the Jewish community. Around the same time Josh and I discussed marriage and whether we might like to adopt the same practice with our own children. Nothing ever came of it.
Life went on. Three of our friends studied abroad in Israel. Josh took two years of Hebrew in pursuit of a career in linguistics. We attended a lecture on Yom Kippur solely for the free food—the week of Ahmedinijad’s speech before the UN.

And then Josh forged a business relationship and dear friendship with a young man who, as a Messianic Jew, was active in Christians United For Israel on the Roberts campus.

He invited us to the seventh annual Night to Honor Israel.
Limo buses, ya’ll! What a hoot.

I entered the packed sanctuary with the mentality that supporting Israel in some way was probably a good idea just because–who doesn’t want to support the underdog? Israel and the Jewish nation have been persecuted by a different people group in every generation throughout history. Today, the same terrorist organizations threatening the democracy of the United States want to wipe Israel off the face of the earth. I had expected to hear all of that. What I had not expected were the tragic and inspiring individual stories from the beautiful and diverse Jewish men and women praising, encouraging, and defending their Holy Land to an auditorium full of Christians. 

These people stood on their faith in the God who has brought them through centuries of tragedy, hoping for the blessed future of their countrymen and of the planet. Their stories brought me to tears and brought prayers for global unity from my mouth. The Hebrew lyrics to the hymn of unification “Hine Ma Tov” rose to my heart’s memory from a distant moment in my childhood, and I danced with the brothers and sisters of the nation of Israel.

As a responsible global citizen, I support Israel as a bastion of freedom, democracy, and the power of obedience to the law in a sea of lawlessness and violence. They are an example of faithful steadfastness to the entire world. As a Christian, I believe the words of Genesis 12:3 I will bless those who bless you, and whoever curses you I will curse; and all peoples on earth will be blessed through you.”

I believe that God has a plan for this tiny nation that will bring blessings to all the nations of the world.

I don’t know what the future holds for Josh and I and our involvement with defending Israel. All I know is that I want to be a part of God’s plan for these people and, through them, for all people.

 
So much dessert . . .
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