Crossroads

“Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful (John 14:27)

I spent the weekend with some friends hiking and camping. It was a fun time, as well as sweet time of fellowship. After worship in the evening, some opened up about what they were going through in life, and a common theme that emerged was that many were at a crossroad. There were many decisions that needed to be made, some more important, some less important. Some of those decisions would affect their lives for the next several months, others for the next few years.

It was interesting how in a way we all reach a crossroad and, while we may know the general direction in which we want to go to, it’s the actual roads that need to be taken to get there, which are hard to choose. Sometimes, even the general direction is unknown.

I’m finishing my studies for a Master’s degree soon and am hoping to hand in my thesis in the next couple of weeks. It’s an exciting time, yet in a way both peaceful and frightening . I am glad to be finished with it, yet the road ahead seems a bit unclear. I am glad to have the extra time to do other things I need to get done or want to do. People keep asking me what my plans are for next year and what I want to do with my degree. Honestly, I don’t know. One friend described a decision she had to make for something she wanted to do during the summer. It would affect where she would live and work and it was hard for her to reach a decision. She half-jokingly said how easy it would be if God just sent her a note telling her what to do. I guess we all wish that in a way. It would be much easier to choose a job, studies, know who your spouse would be, where to go and what to do at every crossroad. Yet, God wants US to choose. Yes, He knows beforehand what and how we will choose, but He wants us to trust Him in the roads we take. After all, He didn’t create robots.

One verse that I remember learning as a child and which appears at the top of this post, was “let not your heart be troubled, nor let it be afraid”. We all have concerns about the future, worries that we might take the wrong turn in the road, perhaps even fears. But God wants us to trust Him, not to be worried or afraid. I know this is easier said than done, but this is where faith comes in. My dad has a saying which exemplifies this perfectly: For All I Trust Him.

Whatever the crossroad you face right now, whether it is work, studies, having a spouse, traveling, or ________ (you fill the gap), know that God is with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. He will show you which road to take. It may be before you reach the crossroad, or when you stand right at it.

Are you at a crossroad? If you were, what helped you decide what to do?

© Hannah Kramer

To give them beauty for ashes

“Awake, awake! Put on your strength, O Zion; Put on your beautiful garments, O Jerusalem, the holy city!” (Isaiah 52:1)

We sat and watched the ceremony. We watched the lighting of the beacons in remembrance of those who had fallen in the defence of Israel. We watched as the cameras focused on members of the bereaved families and heard their stories. We listened to women who lost their husbands, men who lost their sons, children who lost their fathers and families who lost mothers, sisters and daughters. The tears began to fall – a flow of tears for all those whose lives ended as a result of war and terrorism.

Last night at sundown began Yom HaZikaron, our National Memorial Day for fallen soldiers and victims of terror in Israel. It started with a minute-long siren in the evening, when we stood in silence in honour of the fallen. It continued with another two-minute siren this morning. Cars stopped in the middle of the highways and on local streets and driver and passenger alike stood outside the vehicles until the siren ended. Schools and public places around the country had special ceremonies to make this special day. And through the evening, night and day, there were the of the 23,544 soldiers, men and women, who gave their lives for our freedom, so Israel could live in the land of its fathers, the land given to it by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob over 3000 years ago.

At sundown today, the country will go through what sometimes appears to be impossible transition, from sadness to joy, from mourning to celebration. The evening of of the end of Yom HaZikaron marks the beginning of Israel’s Independence Day, this year – it’s 69th.

Three score and nine years ago, this nation arose from the ashes of the Holocaust, its people coming from all corners of the earth, bringing with them a dream and a hope to forge a future that would help to overcome the past, a past filled with hatred against Jews, simply because they were Jews. Since its founding, Israel has been and remains under attack, engaged in a fight for her life. The attacks take many forms, but they have a common purpose – to remove Jews from this land and, sometimes, from every other land as well. Today, we remember those who struggled here, so that the living may endure and hold on to the land of promise.

As we mark the beginning of the 70th year of the Nation of Israel in her own land, we continue to pray for protection by God, who watches over the nation as the pupil of His eye. May we pray that He would watch over, protect and strengthen the soldiers who put their lives on the line daily for her, and for the day when Israel will replace her spirit of mourning for garments of praise (Isaiah 61:3).