I can’t think of a better first blog post for my new website than this one. This is a question I have found myself answering for the past 4-5 months as my wife and I have transitioned our family from the rolling, wooded hills of East Texas to the tense hills of Jerusalem.
My usual answer is “Why not?” (Which is very Jewish. It’s a common stereotype that Jewish people (especially the Rabbis) answer questions with questions.) But since that particular answer doesn’t really scratch the curious itch of the one doing the questioning, I usually wipe the grin off my face and proceed to give a list of rational reasons for moving to the most contested place on the face of the earth. I’ll try and keep the answer here as simple as possible:
- Because God said so.
- Because my pastors, congregation elders, and closest friends & mentors said so.
- Because it took (and takes) faith.
Numero Uno doesn’t need a whole lot of explaining. Since I believe in the Bible, I believe that every single person on this planet has a divinely-ordained plan for their life. It’s their choice whether or not they want to partake in it. Each one of us has to take time and make an effort to communicate with God and figure out what that plan is. I could sit here and write for the next two hours of how the Lord made clear that He was asking us to pick up and move to Israel. I’ll just keep it simple and said “He said so.”
Moving down the list from there, I cannot stress enough how much I have lived my life in submission to those who I love and respect the most. Any time there’s a major decision to make in my life, I want to immediately ask for the counsel and wisdom of my closest friends and mentors. It became quickly clear that a variety of people seemed to agree that this was a wise move for our family. There’s strength in numbers, as well as peace.
The last one was the one that really helped keep my “hand on the plow” between when we decided to go and when we actually left. I kept reminding myself of the words of Hebrews 11:6 – “Without faith, it is impossible to please God.” If there was ever a time in our lives that we were living on faith, it was when Tabatha and I moved forward with moving to Israel for the year. Rockets were flying from Gaza, terrorism was rearing its head on the streets of Jerusalem, and we had just built a new home on our dream land. My “sensible” self was telling my faith-filled self that it needed to come down out of the clouds, back to earth. But there’s no faith in that. When everything in life makes perfect sense, you should probably stop and ask if you’re exercising a faith that pleases God.
I’ve left out quite a few specific details that connect the big picture to the day-to-day details, but these 3 factors are the reason I am typing this from Jerusalem, and not Smith County.
With the launch of this website, I hope to begin communicating what has been put on my heart as we’ve spent our first 2 months in Jerusalem. I’m not sure where this will all lead, but I feel the faith to do it nonetheless.
I invite you to join me on the journey, and share your thoughts along the way!