I almost missed the experience the first time I was in Israel. Because I was “misplaced” one day, I savored my walks along the beautiful promenade every remaining day of the trip. I looked forward to enjoying the area, view, and experience again.
A friend and I took a “test walk” late one afternoon to make sure I remembered the route. We planned to spend time at the promenade a couple days later on Shabbat, reading Scriptures together. (I’ll share that experience over the next several days.)
We walked through the trees to a wide, beautiful view.
All in one view: the Old City, Temple Mount, Dome of the Rock, and Mount of Olives (and much more). As I stared at the details of what I saw, I considered of the scope of it all.
Past, present, and future.
I was looking at history. Abraham’s faith was tested here. David bought a threshing floor. His son, Solomon, built the temple. Jeremiah warned God’s people. The walls of the city and temple were destroyed as the Jews in Judea were taken into Babylonian captivity. Nehemiah and Ezra led the temple rebuilding process. Jesus taught, healed, confronted, prayed, and walked to His death. After His resurrection, He ascended to heaven from the Mount of Olives. His disciples continued His work.
I was looking at the present. Disciples are still doing His work. There is still conflict, as there has been throughout history. People struggle to agree who has control over what piece of land and who can pray where. Some are faithful in their pursuit of God’s will. Some are driven by pride. Others jump into the debate even if they don’t have much personal investment because it’s difficult to live life here without taking a stand. Without knowing each individual involved, it can be difficult to identify who has which motive. Some struggle to have peace by refusing conflict. Some choose conflict without regard for peace. Many seek peace but know conflict is the required sacrifice to reach it.
I was looking at the future. No political party is going to settle what happens on this land. No international governing body will have the last say. No group of faith, no matter what their beliefs, will have the power or authority to make the future happen. That role belongs to one Person: Jesus. Just because He has the last say doesn’t mean we can disengage and passively wait. We have responsibility in the present.
We look at history to learn and grow.
We look at the future for hope and assurance.
We live in the present with faith and obedience, one step at a time on the land He has placed us on.