Problem Solvers


One of my favorite things to do is … grocery shopping! Such a straight-forward solution to basic problems: toilet paper all gone, olive oil almost out …

I love the satisfaction of identifying the need, making a grocery list – and then solving the problem at the supermarket. Admittedly, I come from two list-loving parents, and enjoy menu planning and food prep and consumption, plus I no longer have little ones in tow. Even so, I would like to think that my grocery shopping infatuation comes from a deeper place – we humans are designed to be problem solvers.

This past year most of us have been confronted by new and unexpected problems and “mountains being shaken” (Isaiah 54:10). Many of us were impelled to focus on the more basic “problems” of life. Now, as things return to some version of normal, we can rejoice that God has faithfully brought us through this present trial. Our kids are finally going back to school after being in distance learning since September!

As a congregation, we have been waiting for Israeli COVID regulations to change enough so that we can return to in-person worship services. After over a year of posting weekly worship and teachings in Hebrew (and English) on our new YouTube channel, this month we will all come together again for the first time – but outdoors due to the number of people. As of this writing, we are still looking for an outdoor venue for the gathering. Other congregations have found various and sundry solutions: an enclosed parking lot, a large yard adjacent to a congregational building, etc. We are still on the hunt. Driving last week towards the Sea of Galilee to visit some of our families who live in that area, it struck me that Yeshua and His disciples had an identical dilemma, minus the issue of sound equipment. 😉

Like us, they were also gathering in the Galilee. They needed the area to be conducive to hearing the preacher preach, with enough space for families to sit and not be disturbed by passing traffic (granted their traffic was comprised of donkeys and carts – but the problem was fundamentally the same).

The “Mount of Beatitudes,” where Yeshua preached Luke 6, is a lovely hill overlooking the Sea of Galilee. I don’t think they had large sunshade nets then, and they definitely didn’t have any outside electric fans. Maybe the weather was great as it sometimes can be here, but maybe it was scorching hot. It makes sense that they would choose that kind of spot: the breeze from the lake kept people cool. The slant of the hill allowed people to sit and see Yeshua as He preached. We read in Luke 6 that there were many “… who had come to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. Those troubled by impure spirits were cured, and the people all tried to touch him, because power was coming from him and healing them all.

So much in our modern life is different from theirs, but the message we are carrying and the power we believe in is the same. I pray that as we all return to the more complicated lifestyles than we had before lock-down, we will not abandon the simple message of the Gospel and that we will hold on to the peace and security we have in Him, allowing Him to be our ultimate Problem Solver as He also anoints us to be problem solvers in His image.