We all need a sense of belonging. It's what grounds us. What enables us to feel loved and accepted. It is the force that connects us to one another. Our soul craves belonging because it is essential in order for us to become all we were created to be.
The Jewish people lost that sense of belonging when they were exiled by God out of the Land of Israel into the nations, scattered among the four corners of the earth. I can't talk about belonging without first touching on the pain of unbelonging.
If we look back at biblical history it all started with the ancient exile of my people. This is really how I ended up shivering in the parking lot of a Walmart in Canada in -30 below weather. I felt like a fish out of water. I didn't belong here!
Watch a video on our first week in Israel below!
packing bags for overseas move back to Israel
No matter how hard I tried to fit in and conform to the culture, customs and country I had been placed in nothing seemed to work. Even though I had a house I knew it was not my true home. I was longing for the return back to my roots, my country, my true place of belonging. (See blog post Life in Color)
I was still in exile and although it was necessary for a time to learn the lessons God needed to teach me He was calling me back home... to the place where we belong. The Land of Israel.
As I hauled my suitcase out of my room and lined it up against the wall with the others I knew that this step of faith was the right thing to do. I laughed remembering how hard it was to pick and choose what I wanted to keep and bring with me.
I anxiously waited as my brother Avi weighed the suitcase busting at the seams. He shook his head and I let out a sigh of disappointment. "Liat, it's just too heavy! You're going to have to let some things go, you can't fly with that much inside."
What true words. Such a good reminder that in order to get to where God’s taking us we can’t bring everything and everyone with us. Sometimes we get so weighted down by our “baggage” that it prevents us from flying! (see previous blog post Learning to Let Go.)
As we sliced through the sky inside the aircraft zooming towards our eagerly awaited destination, Israel, I noticed several men standing up to pray as they wrapped the traditional teffillin around their arm and forehead as commanded in Deuteronomy 6:8 “You shall bind them as a sign upon your hand, and they shall be for a reminder between your eyes.”
"The good thing about Israel is that you learn to pray." My brother in law stated as we drove around looking for a place to stay for the night. We laughed "that's true." my mom agreed.
In Israel you cannot survive in your own strength, you simply won't make it. You are almost left with no other choice than to be dependent on God and pray continually for wisdom, grace and guidance. This concept of continual prayer is so embedded into the Jewish culture and honored as an essential part of every day life that must be upheld no matter what the circumstances - even on an airplane thousands of feet from the ground.
The Promised Land
The culture shock hit me pretty hard. There's a crazy side of Israel that you often miss out on seeing while roaming through the country on an air conditioned tour bus.
When you really get into the thick of it the heat gets cranked up and it's a fight to see if you'll crack under the pressure or survive.
Straight off the airplane we crammed all of our luggage into one car and begin coasting down the windy Jerusalem roads.
We were on a mission, a hunt to search out a landing place while our house we planned to move into was temporarily occupied by another renter. As you would have it I happened to know the family owning the bed & breakfast we went to check out.
The believing community in Israel is a very small world!
arriving in Ben Gurion Airport - welcome to Israel!
We roamed through various places, once of them including Abu Gosh, an Arab village that caters to tourists. Fairly safe for Jewish people to enter and stay as they please. Yet the longer we stayed in the town the more the noise, chaos, hostility and clutter began to feel suffocating.
We narrowly escaped a fight at the falafel place between an enraged Arab customer and the owner; as well as breaking up a violent dog fight in a different village in the midst of our search for a place to sleep that night. Continuing to travel down the windy Jerusalem roads we felt the fatigue of the journey kick in.
As each traumatic and stressful event unfolded someone would always turn to me and smile "welcome to Israel!" they said sheepishly. I knew they were trying to make me feel better but it was only making me feel worse! Was this really what I was coming back to live in? Balagan? (Chaos.)
" I will gather you from the nations, assemble you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will give you the land of Israel." (Ezekiel 11:17)
That word "land" in Hebrew is 'Adama' which literally means ground or dirt. Those words leapt out at me from the page as significant. When the early Jewish setters came to Israel there was literally just dirt. They were inheriting the Promise of God but they still had to work the ground in order for it to flourish and bloom into the fruitful oasis it has become today.
In the same way when we walk into the Promises of God we can't expect everything to be handed to us on a silver platter. It will take faithful and courageous obedience to carry out the work God has called us to. "Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. " (Galatians 6:9)
Not without a Fight
There are things that God promises to us but that doesn't mean it won't come without a fight. God promised the Land of Israel to His chosen people yet there were giants in the Land! There are going to be obstacles and difficulties laid out before you as you attempt to possess God's promises for your life but as we refuse to become overwhelmed and lean into His strength and power we are fueled with supernatural grace to overcome them.
"For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out 'Abba, Father." (Romans 8:15)
LISTEN TO: ABBA I BELONG TO YOU
God had to free the Israelites from Egypt. Not only physically but mentality. In fact most of the Israelites didn't make it into the Promised Land because although they were no longer slaves physically, they were enslaved by their fear and unbelief.
They clung to idolatry in their hearts longing for the security, familiarity and wealth of Egypt. At the first sign of struggle and opposition they cried out in regret wishing for their old life in Egypt.
How many of us do the same thing? We refuse to give up our place of bondage because we value the security and resources available despite the fact that our position and possessions might be the very thing enslaving us.
If we do get the courage to step out in faith towards freedom we often panic when faced with enemies in the Land and attempt to back track instead of fighting the good fight of faith.
Despite Canada being an extremely wealthy Land seemingly full of opportunities and the cost of Israel overwhelmingly high we have taken the step of faith to settle back in the Land for this reason.
We know we belong here. We know that if this is where we belong our 'Abba' (Heavenly father) will take care of us and provide all of our needs and make a way for us to walk in freedom.
When we are secure in his love for us we can face anything and everything He's calling us to do.
Prayer: Abba father, thank you so much that I belong to you. When I feel alone and disconnected you draw me into your embrace and show me my worth, value and place in this world. Thank you that your thoughts towards me are for good, not for evil and you're leading me to exactly where I need to be.
P.S. Thank you so much to everyone who continues to partner with us in prayer and support as we return back to the Land. If you would like to stay connected CLICK HERE to receive new creative content from Israel. Shalom!
#AliyahtoIsrael #MakingAliyah #Returnoftheexiles #Jewishpeoplecominghome #Israel #FightingforthePromisesofGod #PromisedLand #IsraelthePromisedLand #Messianicfaith #Messianic #Messianicyouth #Israeli #Thingstoknowbeforemakingaliyah #OnlyinIsrael #Belonging #Becomingallyouwerecreatedtobe