I was sitting in my backyard the other day – in Hebrew they call it a “garden” and I was struck by the peace and tranquillity that was present. It was beautiful and quiet, just a gentle breeze flowing through the air and birds chirping in the morning hours. In this place, there was no Covid-19, no rumors of wars, no politics, no fear, no masks, just a wonderfully peaceful place. And as I was being refreshed in my garden, I realized that this is where God wants us to be. This is what he has given us as our inheritance. He has given each one of us our own special garden of peace. It is in Him. If we abide in Him, we will abide in his peace. His peace surpasses all understanding – not the peace of this world but a deep, profound place of trust and faith and in it, we are protected and stand on the rock that cannot be shaken.
Outside the garden, there is no peace and it feels as if everything is shaking. In this last month, life in Israel has become more unstable in every way. The numbers of infected with the virus keep setting new records. The very mention of closing the nation down again, something which was done so quickly and efficiently in March and April now sends shock waves through the country. Too many people are unemployed, the economic situation too fragile – commerce must somehow be protected while keeping the virus at bay. There is division on every level of politics and there is now talk of the present “Unity” government disbanding and possible elections in November. The estrangement between Netanyahu and Gantz is not being hidden in any way. And in addition to all these challenges, Netanyahu’s criminal trial has reconvened this past week.
The confusion which results from the disunity is rampant and people are getting increasingly angry and frustrated as they are told one day that there will be certain restrictions and within hours, they are told that the restrictions have been rescinded. Most people feel that the attempts of control over this virus spread are random and illogical.
There have been ongoing protests and demonstrations against the restrictions and also against the Prime Minister, calling for him to step down, with some of these protests described as “violent”. This is not business as usual in Israel where the citizens pride themselves on having only “peaceful” demonstrations and with great respect for law and order. As the demonstrations continue and increase each evening, there is a growing tension between the protestors and the police. In addition, some citizens who disagree with the protests have attacked some of the demostrators and caused injury. It is a very volatile situation. Please pray that these demonstrations and protests will stay peaceful and the spirit of violence seen in the US would not manifest in the demonstrations here.
People buy tickets to fly but are never sure that the airplane will actually keep the schedule. Those who have tried to leave the country usually experience at least one cancellation from the airline and are rescheduled at some later date, not necessarily of their choosing. Nothing is certain. There are no tourists allowed in the country and the industry is suffering greatly. The emptiness of the airport paints a discouraging picture.
One positive event from all this is that Israelis, having no option to travel abroad are vacationing within the country. Israelis are rediscovering their own local tourist spots and so at least some of the hotels and guest houses are still able to stay in business.
Although demostrations are deemed legal and have thousands of people congregating together for hours at a time, our congregation, Ahavat Yeshua has had to go back to Zoom meetings, (as have most other congregations in Israel) since every other outdoor meeting is limited to under twenty people and indoor meetings to under ten. As this situation continues to drag on, we are seeing and hearing more people who are feeling more anxious and uncertain about the future. No one knows what is happening. No one can predict.
Israelis are dissatisfied, searching and looking for answers. There has never been a more fruitful season for the gospel. Please pray for every evangelistic endeavor that is proclaiming the gospel for all to hear. Please pray for Shelanu.tv which is now airing on the internet. The enemy may have succeeded in taking it off the television channel but join us in praying that more would hear and listen on the internet than ever would have on the TV. Pray that there would be a surge of creativity in programming that would catch the attention of young Israelis. What the enemy meant for harm, let it be turned into something incredible!
In a time when it feels as if there is absolutely no good news coming forth – here we are: sons and daughters of the living God, filled with his spirit and filled with amazingly good news! God is on his throne and salvation is in Yeshua. I pray that as the challenges increase, the hope that lives in us will grow and increase in fervency. I pray that we would always be ready to give a reason for the hope that lives in us. Let us be filled with the light of the Lord and shine with the knowledge of the incredible love of God.
I am so very grateful for your ongoing support and encouragement. It is a joy to be serving our God and King with you in these times. I pray that in these days of great uncertainty and chaos, each one of us would abide in the “garden” of His peace that He has given us and we would be filled with the security and strength that we need each and every day. Truly, He has overcome the world!
With love from Zion,