November 14th, 2019

Stephen Jobs was famous for saying, “You can’t connect the dots looking forward, only backwards.” 

As I looked back on the walk through Israel, north to south, I see God’s hand directing, disciplining, deepening me.  We didn’t travel in order to move around so much as to be moved in our spirits. We explored hard spots to reach inside places we’d not find in familiar spaces.

One of the favorite chapters in the Bible that I’ve memorized is Deuteronomy 8:15-16, “God… led you through that huge and fearsome wilderness, those desolate, arid badlands crawling with fiery snakes and scorpions… in order to give you a taste of the hard life, to test you so that you would be prepared to live well in the days ahead of you.”   

series of hard twisting chutes with dry waterfalls, ready for water to bust out and surprise me

A taste of the hard life.  Testing that’s done when the Teacher is quiet.  Hard times.  Like this tree hanging onto the walls of En Gedi.  You think it’s gone through hard times?

I don’t get the goodness of hardness when I’m in the middle of it.  So, when I’m going through hell, I don’t stop.  The measure of pain’s meaning arrives when I refuse rigidity, loosen tight muscles, and receive necessary discipline and testing.

We left Eliat and hiked a few days up in the Judean wilderness. The Dead Sea threw off vapors, salt flats fingered into dead water.

Springs and streams flow out of dry rock in David’s Wadi and the adjoining Arugot Wadi of the En Gedi Nature Preserve. 

Water gushing from hard rock

Deuteronomy 8:5, “God is about to bring you into a good land, a land of brooks and springs, lakes and rivers, streams out of the hills and through the valleys.” God’s always about to bring me into a good land, if I’ll hold still long enough to receive both his hard and easy times.   

Now that we’re safely home for two days, having passed through 13 time zones in 23 hours, we still are about to be brought into God’s good land.  It’s not about geography, I tell myself.  It’s God’s kingdom within that’s so good, if I have eyes to see, ears to hear, and a heart to receive.