Good morning from Jerusalem! Strange as it may sound, it feels like I never left. Could it be because it feels like home, here?
This journey has been different from the last, a bit more hectic. But that’s not necessarily a bad thing. You see, this year I am traveling with nine companions instead of one. With ten personalities (myself included), each having their own ideas, needs, wants and challenges, things sometimes take longer. (Now I understand why tour guides are constantly pushing their people to get a move on.)
Yet with all the challenges, this is answered prayer. The first time I came to Israel and visited the Wall, I prayed that God would bring me back and let me bring people with me. And here we are. So with all the challenges and delays, I am grateful for answered prayer. So the task before me is how to facilitate an enjoyable trip for everyone. Of course, God has the answer.
So last night, after our Shabbat dinner, I headed to the wall for some quiet time with God. The first thing I realized is how thankful I am that I’m not God. Sounds silly, but I really don’t know how He does it, moving all the pieces around to accomplish His purpose in this world, not with just ten people, but with BILLIONS. We serve an awesome, amazing God!
It all becomes so plain when we seek His face. The prayer I prayed at the Wall four years ago was what He planted in my heart. So if He planted it, then brought it to fruition, He will give me the wisdom and ability to see it through. In the end, it’s all about Him, and serving His people.
Speaking of His people, our first stop was in Amsterdam, where we traveled by train to the Anne Frank House which was her hiding place. It is not a large place, but packs a powerful punch to the heart. I read her diary as a young girl and recently started reading it with my granddaughter. To be there, and see the pictures she glued to the walls of her room to cheer the place up, and her eventual death at such a young age, broke my heart. I could feel the desperation of her father as he tried valiantly to save his family.
If you ever have the opportunity to go, be sure to purchase tickets ahead of time (we did). The line to get in was hours long. It was rather cold and there was a light rain, but that did not deter people from standing in line to get into this small museum, to pay tribute to a young lady who has had such an impact on the the world.
After returning to the airport, we waited for our final leg to Israel. I am very grateful for the opportunity to see Anne Frank’s hiding place, but I will say that if you can find a more direct flight to Israel, even if it costs a little more, than take it. The travel wiped everyone out, so that the first day in the land was more sleeping than seeing.
We did have an awesome dinner at the home of Yoni and Yochi, our hosts with Shabbat of a Lifetime. It is an organization that hosts anyone, from any background, for a Sabbath dinner. The five course meal was amazing, and the graciousness of our hosts superb. In additon to our group of ten, there were four ladies from Singapore.
When I walked in, I felt right at home. There were two large tables filling the small space – just like my house on our ShabbatOn and Rosh Hashanah. Not only was I blessed with the company, the food, and getting to make new friends, but it was a confirmation that my call to help people experience Shabbat was definitely coming from God. And it gave me some ideas on how to go about doing it.
Some of you know that in January, we are having a Sabbath retreat. I prefer to think of it as a Sabbath experience – one that people will be able to take with them, not as a memory, but equipped with the knowledge of how to experience God’s rest every week. Life is so hectic, whether on vacation or at home. There always seems like there is so much more to do than there is time to do it. But once we make the decision to stop and enjoy the gift of the Sabbath, God puts everything in perspective – like He did for me at the wall last night.
It’s not about me, or even the people with me, it’s all about Him and what He wants to teach us – for our good and His glory.