There are a lot of things I want to share with you in the morning about our day today. But for tonight, I just can’t go to sleep without sharing one thing that happened today – because it was so powerful.
Maria and I visited Elijah’s Cave. There are actually two – one Jewish, the other Christian. We ended up visiting both, but the Jewish one is where my experience started. There weren’t many people there. Those that were, were in silent prayer. The cave is long, divided in two – one side for men, one for the women. Unlike the Western Wall, the sides are fairly even.
As soon as I walked in, I knew I was where I was supposed to be. I headed straight to a small side alcove on the women’s side. I stood there waiting, because I felt God was leading me. I reached out to lay my hand on the wall, and felt a knob-like protrusion in the rock. I grabbed on and closed my eyes. I saw Elijah, not looking at me, but just sitting and looking out into the larger cave. It lasted a few minutes. Then I started to pray, but the Lord told me to be silent and receive. So I did. (Wouldn’t you?)
I received instrutions from the Lord, which I am not at liberty to share right now. But it was very clear he was giving me a commission. I went to the end of the cave, where there is a curtain covering another alcove, and received further instructions. When I exited the cave, the annointing still there, so I sat on the steps. At some point he told me to go back inside and look for something.
I returned to the cave and sat on the benches that line a part of the wall on the woman’s side. A tourist asked one of the Jewish ladies if it was okay to take pictures (it was). She then told her that a group of them were there, praying for Israel. The woman’s heart was so touched. The Lord told me to go talk to her.
I told her, “You are not alone. There are many Christians praying for you and standing with you.” She translated to the woman sitting next to her and they were both very excited and grateful to hear that. I told her, “Hashem loves you, and he will take care of you. Ani ma’amin..” and before I could finish the line of the prayer/song, she did. It translates “I believe with perfect faith in the coming of the Messiah. And though he tarries, I will wait for him.”
She kept pointing to the floor and saying “Mashiach” which means ‘Messiah’. We hugged and I left the cave, knowing I did what God wanted. This was not the commission, but it was a small instruction to do something, and I felt I actually did hear from him – it wasn’t my vain imagination. I’ve got to tell you, I was feeling pretty bold and powerful, sure of the instructions God gave me. And then…
After visiting Elijah’s cave, Maria and I ascended the old stairs to the Carmelite Monastery. Have I mentioned I have a bit of a challenge with heights? Well I do. The stairs were old, rock hewn with places where there were no longer stairs, but packed down dirt. And, we were climbing the mountain with civilization way down below. WAY down below.
However, I was still feeling pretty bold, with the mountain on my left and clumps of trees on my right. Then the trees disappeared. And what was left was open space, and the drop of the mountain not far from me. Suddenly, fear gripped me and I felt exactly like Elijah after he boldy defeated the 400 prophets of Ba’al, but scampered away in fear of Jezebel.
Maria had long ascended ahead of me and was out of sight. I continued climbing. After all, the alternative – climbing back down – was terrifying! I got to the top with great relief just as a couple was starting their descent. I was pretty pleased with myself (once the tremors subsided) and thought I would take the cable car back down. Then reality hit. I was not where I thought I was going to end up! And Maria was no where in sight.
I looked up and it seemed I had further to go. There were two paths. One lead to what I thought was an industrial building, the other to the monastery. I opted for the second one, which ran along the edge of the mountain, overlooking a valley. Yikes! About halfway there, I didn’t think the path led to the monastery after all. It looked like the valley divided the place where I was from the place I wanted to go. So I sat down and prayed. I was alone, on a mountain, scared out of my wits, sweating so bad that salt stung my eyes and I realized there was no cable car for this baby. Nope, I had to climb all the way back down the mountain.
I called out to Maria with no response. So I got up (actually, humped over) and headed back down to the landing at the top of the stairs. Finally, Maria appeared with ear plugs in her ears, listening to music. We did what I was dreading – descended the stairs. All the while I was talking to the Lord, waiting to hear from him.
He was pretty silent.
I remember reading Oswald Chambers, where he said if God is silent, he is trusting you in the silence. So I worked my way down the stairs, clinging to the mountain when I could, and back in my place – a humble servant depending on God for every step I take.
We made it down without incident (thank you Captain Obvious). But with a very important lesson. Just as the Lord taught me not to judge the Israelites who were complaining in the desert, I had no right to judge (or think less of) Elijah the prophet, who, in the strength of God, stood up to 400 false prophets, then high-tailed it when Jezebel threatened. He was, after all, only human, as am I.