Have you ever felt surrounded?
Just completely bombarded by catastrophe and trouble on every side? I don't know if you've ever endured a season in your life that's left you scratching your head thinking "Why is everything going wrong?!" Well I have!
Since God has brought us back home to the Land of Israel just over 2 months ago we have been battling turmoil & opposition on every front: In our health, finances, relationships, family... After fighting off an undiagnosed sickness for months and coming home one night to find our house ransacked by thieves who took all of our valuables we were weary with discouragement.
We live on a little moshav (village) outside of Jerusalem, Our home is perched high atop the Judean hills overlooking an incredible 360 degree view of settlements scattered among the mountains of Zion. I sit out on our balcony every chance I get gazing at the big open skies and watching the sunset every night.
One morning when I was praying and seeking God about why all this trouble and distress was occurring in our lives He pointed me to this verse.
""those who trust in the Lord are like Mount Zion, which cannot be moved, but abides forever. As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people, From this time forth and forever." (Psalms 125:1-2)
I knew God was beckoning me further into a deeper trust during our journey here in the Land. Things were no longer easy & convenient like in Canada.
Every obstacle appeared as though it were a massive giant looming before us, seemingly impossible to defeat. It was in that place my heart clung to the promise of God that "He surrounds us now and forever."
I was reminded of the worship song that I heard sung in Hebrew for the first time that had been translated from English at the second annual Daughter's of Zion conference.
It was led by a young Israeli believer who had just been released from the army.
The lyrics are "It may look like I'm surrounded but I'm surrounded by you." What an awesome declaration of faith.
CLICK HERE to listen to my cover of the worship song 'Fight my Battles' in Hebrew & English.
Israel has been going through her own storms lately as a rocket fired from Gaza yesterday demolished a house in moshav mishmeret (near Tel Aviv area.)
The attack wounded 7 Israelis including a 60 year old woman and two. babies.
Israel has since retaliated in defense, launching rockets into Gaza directed toward terrorist bases.
Thank you for all of you who are standing with Israel in prayer during this time.
"You have been a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in their distress, a shelter from the storm and a shade from the heat. For the breath of the ruthless is like a storm driving against a wall." (Isaiah 25:4)
Listen to my video message below:
And yet that's easier said than done. I found myself relating more to the writer of Psalms 88:17 that said "I am overwhelmed with troubles, I am like one without strength, you have put me in the lowest pit."
I don't know what the writer of the Psalm was dealing with but I do know that he was expressing his anguish, feeling like he was at the lowest of the low. Have you ever had a day where you think "seriously, what else could go wrong??"
I had one of those recently. After running around in the busy city of Jerusalem - working, making appointments, getting a disappointing phone call and then almost passing out during my blood test (which cost an arm and a leg since I didn't have health insurance yet) I was just ready to curl up in bed and start over the next day.
However when I walked up the steps to my door a car pulled into the drive way and three guys I recognized jumped out. I glanced at my mom "What are they doing here?!" These three Israeli guys had been here once already trying to catch our chickens and take them to their farm since our neighbor had been constantly complaining about the noise our rooster makes. Apparently she hadn't stopped.
The irony of the situation is that throughout all of the trials and struggles that we'd been facing recently, my one comfort was thinking "well, at least our chickens weren't taken away!" I loved little Edward (rooster) and Edwina (chicken) they were inseparable and I considered them a part of the family.
After a hilarious chicken chase around the yard they finally caught them and invited us to come visit them in their new home. Tears welled up in my eyes as my last shred of comfort and joy drove away.
What is our response in those situations? I want to stay it's easy to embrace hope, gratitude and trust in the face of such loss & devastation but it takes a lot of faith.
Often we can feel like we're drowning in disappointment. "All day long they surround me like a flood; they have completely engulfed me." (Psalm 88:17)
Those of you who follow me on social media know that Israel experienced massive amounts of flooding during a storm last week.
My three little nephews were stranded at their school and emergency rescue teams had to be brought in and take the kids a couple at a time across the flooding to safety.
Thank you to all who were keeping us in prayer! (If you want to get updates on news from Israel SIGN UP FOR MY MAILING LIST or FOLLOW ME ON INSTAGRAM.)
As I watched the torrential downpour of rain accumulate into furious floods I thought about the storms that were surrounding me in my life. I found my story in Mathew 8
"Yeshua gave orders to cross the other side of the lake, then a Teacher of the law came to him and said 'Teacher I will follow you wherever you go."
Maybe God's asked you to 'cross over' from where you've been and transition into something new.
When our family left Canada we knew we were leaving behind our old way of life and moving into something completely different.
We were, and still are in a transition period.
But I'm not preaching another 'don't be afraid to follow' message. I'm talking about faithfulness in the journey. Once you've already set out in obedience and begin letting God lead you.
"Yeshua got into the boat and his disciples followed him. Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake so the waves swept over the boat. But Yeshua was sleeping."
The point I want to highlight here is this: the disciples didn't do anything wrong.
They were just following their savior when a fierce storm arose and threatened their existence.
It is not always our disobedience that causes opposition in our lives.
"If we are a target for the enemy, it means we are where we're supposed to be." (see song: Right Where you Want me - Sarah Reeves)
When your life slips out of control and you're facing mountains of discouragement and doubt, don't lose heart.
God is with you and He will use these trials and tribulations to cultivate a calm inside of you.
So that although storms may rage around us, we can hold fast to our peace and sleep in the storm!
"They are at their wits end..
(have you ever felt that way? lol)
Then they cry out to the Lord in their trouble, And He brings them out of their distresses. He calms the storm, so that it's waves are still." (Psalm 107:27-29)
I have to hold myself back from sending too many sunny, palm tree photos to my friends and family back in Canada as they're suffering a cold streak right now of -50!
Not wanting to flaunt the beautiful weather Israel has been having lately but I am so extremely grateful to be back in the land of sun.
I remember driving from Edmonton to L.A. on a missions trip last year and watched the landscape morph from heavy snow to sun and greenery outside my window.
At the first gas station we stopped at in L.A. I hopped out and immediately ran towards a large palm tree that was swaying peacefully in the wind. I hugged it's trunk and breathed in the scent of fresh, California air.
I always thought L.A. resembled Israel so closely and it was a comforting reminder of home. My friends sent me blank stares "Liat, why are you hugging a palm tree?" I laughed. "I love palm trees!" I said as though that were an adequate answer.
Photo taken in Tzorah, Israel (where Sampson lived) February 2019
"The righteous shall flourish like a palm tree, they will grow like the cedars of Lebanon." (Psalm 92:12)
Palm trees are unique to any other kind of tree. Because of the flexibility of a palm tree they can withstand fierce tropical storms by bending to the ground and springing back up once the winds die down.
God wants us to flourish like that palm tree. To put our trust and hope in him in the midst of the storms of life. Not to become destroyed by difficulty but to come through trials stronger than before.
When we feel surrounded by the floods and storms of life we can rest assured that God is the one who is surrounding us and making a way for us even when we can't see how to step forward.
Thank you that you are surrounding me. Give me the courageous to follow you even into the storm. Help me to find rest in you during the trials of life and to trust in your provision and protection. Give me the grace to sleep in the storm and come out of it stronger than before.
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