Author: Taylor Abigail
The name of the place we stayed was Yad Hashmona. A beautiful mix between a retreat center, neighborhood, and a theological study hub, Yad stands as a unique gem of Israel. This place was a gift from the Finns. Yad Hashmona means "In memory of the eight." During the Holocaust, Finland gave over eight Jews to the Nazis. Yad Hashmona is a sincere apology, a gift, and a sign of peace. It stands on an Israeli mountain and has a beautiful garden wrapping around the north side.
Arie Bar-David, owner of Yad Hashmona and Tirosh Expeditions (a touring company), was personally chosen to lead the Yad community. Years ago, Arie stumbled upon a small community of Finns living on the site of Yad Hashmona. As they got to know one another, the Finns saw Arie's amazing leadership abilities and wanted him to grow and lead their community. Arie accepted and Yad has since become a powerful tool in the Lord's hand to bring Jews and Gentiles alike to Himself in the land of Israel - through Arie's tours, the Bible translators onsite, and an ever growing community of Messianic Jews. Arie's family is the first Messianic Jewish family in Israel for decades. During my visit, God's deep devotion to the Jews and Israel became more and more apparent. God's provision and faithfulness to the Jews and Israel was made especially real to me at Yad.
As we walked Jerusalem, we watched the Arabs, Armenians, Christians, Jews, and Muslims mix and mingle. Yet, in the city, there are specific "quarters" where each people group tends to gather. Their ethnicities are a dividing wall, yet, Jerusalem serves as an epicenter for many of their faiths. I've heard it said that in the Western world, our question is, "Is there a god?" and in the Eastern world, the question is, "Which god do you serve?" Walking the Israeli soil gave the sharpest proof of this polarization.
The very nation of Israel was born out of God's covenant with Abraham. Throughout history, the Israeli land has been the coveted possession of empires for its blessed and fertile soil. The Jewish people's entire lives have revolved around God the Father and their search for the Messiah. I am certain that had I approached any person there and said, "There is no god," I would've been in the minority. This entire civilization centers around the spiritual; meanwhile, back in the States, some of us wonder if God hears our prayers and if His power is as active today as it was in Bible times.
And this is where it comes closer to home. The Bible stories about how God helped Israel win wars, and how He rescued them from exiles, can easily feel far away and irrelevant. But standing in the country that has a history which is inseparable from God's grace and power, I couldn't continue to believe that God was inactive or uncaring in my own life. The God of Israel is the same God of my heart and in my heart. While it is "ok" to have doubts, it is not ok to stay in them. Doubt is first and foremost out to destroy our faith and it is up to us to find the truth behind the doubt. It is possible to live doubtless. Doubtless that God is good and that He is for our good, doubtless that He is sovereign and trustworthy, and doubtless that He is able to perform the same miracles in my life as He did for the Jews'. There is no condemnation for those who are in doubt, but, there is always more life to be had.
For me, Israel was a final seal of assurance and an incredible inspiration to live for the God who lives in me.
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