The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad; the desert shall rejoice and blossom like the crocus; it shall blossom abundantly and rejoice with joy and singing. The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it, the majesty of Carmel and Sharon. They shall see the glory of the LORD, the majesty of our God.
Strengthen the weak hands, and make firm the feeble knees. Say to those who have an anxious heart, "Be strong; fear not! Behold, your God will come with vengeance, with the recompense of God. He will come and save you."
Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert; the burning sand shall become a pool, and the thirsty ground springs of water; in the haunt of jackals, where they lie down, the grass shall become reeds and rushes.
And a highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Way of Holiness; the unclean shall not pass over it. It shall belong to those who walk on the way; even if they are fools, they shall not go astray.
No lion shall be there, nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it; they shall not be found there, but the redeemed shall walk there. And the ransomed of the LORD shall return and come to Zion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads; they shall obtain gladness and joy, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. ―Isaiah 35
I’ve got a commission Lord! After our first days in the land, I pulled our group together to take the pulse of our venture to-date. “You’ve seen some great things so far and today we have some extra time. Is there anything or place you would like to focus on?
“Jesus,” came the group reply. A singular focus. It seems that all the forward-thinking planning on what inspires in your land; it all boils down to the hearts and minds of those who are seeking inspiration. To a person, this group was…is unique. They expressed gratefulness at visiting ruins and hearing historical context, but it seems there was just one thing they wanted more of.
Not that this was a problem whatsoever. I was thrilled actually. But it did require some adjustments and quick calls to pull in other sites more focused on your earthly ministry. Simple enough, right? Until I looked at our existing itinerary and remembered that our next day entailed a visitation to Yad Vashem; what Westerners typically refer to as The Israel Holocaust Museum. How does that coalesce with a focus on You, son of God?
I can answer the question safely now because you, Lord walked me through the issue. First, the place, Yad Vashem is not only about the Holocaust―the elimination of 6 million Jews during WWII. It is ALL about the sufferings of those (mostly Jews, but also others) who did not recognize Hitler as the supreme power. The better term for that suffering of the survivors, is the Hebrew word―Shoah which aptly translates as Calamity.
Second, the Shoah and the Holocaust are events you are personally aware of. Not only did you experience both during your own physical lifetime, but your Spirit was engaged in preparing those who suffered and even raising up protectors during those very dark days of the Twentieth Century. Of course, the bitterness with which some view your work then, is still palpable. “Why didn’t God step in to save the victims? No Supreme Being would allow such terrible suffering,” I have heard expressed from dark voices seeping from cynical minds.
And who can argue? It was terrible. All suffering is. Even yours…especially yours. I’d say that the most terrible suffering was on the cross, when you chose to die for people who were blaming you even then for not stepping in to save them―So Ironic. Yet as I think on it, I believe there was an even more terrible day of strife; when, in the Beginning, you breathed life into human beings who were given the perfect opportunity to commune with you…and they chose to separate themselves from you. I can’t know that kind of ripping from the spiritual womb. By the time I arrived on the scene, I was born ripped apart. Now I’m trying desperately to figure out, not why you would let the Holocaust and Shoah (my Shoah too) play out, but why you would not have wiped the slate clean and started a new more acquiescing creation.
And in that question is knitted your incredible answer. You knew us (intimately) before we knew ourselves; fashioned with a free-will choice to say “yes” or “no” to your existence. Why are we so surprised that when we say “no” and live out that lifestyle, terrible things happen? Floods happen, Romans happen, Hitlers happen; The current state of post-modern thinking and practices happens; We―divided and arrogant, and selfish and proud―happen: Amazing that we blame that on you.
Hmmm, so my worries about providing an experience at Yad Vashem that would speak to your life, lived, bled and resurrected, Jesus, were unfounded. We saw you there and we experienced your hand of desired relationship extended to all: victims, perpetrators and spectators. You offer the answer we all seek. Do we really want to hear it, submit to it? How unfair that you, King of the universe should be the one making the rules: we want our own rules with none of the consequences. And so the Shoah goes…on and on and...
Lord on our visit to your land, in that place of specific tragic memories, I found hope. People keep coming. They are helped to not forget that such atrocity can happen again. Some who visit even dedicate themselves to seeking you more deeply, earnestly considering if you do or do not exist―in that, there is great hope for restoration.
I pray others find the answer as I have found the answer. I pray as we prayed that day, that this moment, all moments, are all about you Jesus, bringer of Shalom from Shoah.