Shalom, Dear Readers,
If you are receiving this blog from me for the first time, welcome! Or if you haven’t heard from me for quite a while here’s why. I have spent the last year writing a book for a Messianic pastor in Israel that has been a crowning achievement of my writing-career, having to do with the miraculous saving of thousands of Jewish lives during WWII by one very brave faith-filled Rabbi. I am honored and humbled by having been invited to be a part of such a meaningful project. Now that the book is completed, you will be hearing from me as I share stories of my own experiences or those of someone I meet – and of what I believe the Lord is saying through them as life happens. Sometimes they’re funny, other times more serious, but always they will have to do with the goodness of God and His precious Son.
I began my time of having completed the book by having a surgery procedure that I’d put off until now. Always a writer, though lying on my back as best as I could write, following are my notes on my experience the night following the surgery. It went like this:
This being a Catholic hospital, a crucifix is mounted on the wall before me, next to a clock. Both have kept my attention through the night. As I was not permitted to move my legs for six hours after my surgery and had to lie flat and still, except for the shallow pillow under my head. I found myself relating to Jesus on the cross – who was also unable to move. For me it has been because of a section of a sterile elastic band around my ankles to keep me still. For Him, it was a spike, rusty no doubt, from previous use on someone else before Him. My own muscle cramps and the urge to shift into another position in order to escape what was discomfort for me, had to have been agony for Him as the hours wore on. My relief would come from a nurse releasing my captivity at 6 a.m. His release would only come through death – His own death.
As I stared at the crucifix, insights came to me: He was fixed to a crucifix, in order to fix the ways of sinful mankind. Perhaps I should have known this already, but for the first time I realized that He not only died to take the retribution, the punishment for mankind breaking laws that He Himself had something to do with establishing, but as I shared what I was going through with Him, it seemed that He was somehow sharing what had been His own experience with me. Somehow, we were sharing our mutual experiences together, though certainly what He went through has no parallel anywhere. Through this, I became newly aware of His deep compassion for every experience of suffering that people have gone through ever since evil had usurped the meaning of “good.” The cross wasn’t just about forgiving sins, it was also about taking upon Himself the suffering that sin had caused, in His identity with us, so we could go to Him in our hour of agony and know He could be fully there with us in those moments.
I remembered then how many times my Jewish people have asked, “Where was God during the Holocaust?” I had myself also gone to the Lord with that same question, and immediately came back to me the words, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” Jesus on the cross, had Himself even experienced the perceived abandonment of the Father as He was fully absorbed in the consequences of sin.
As I write this, I am still in the hospital, looking up at Jesus still affixed to the crucifix. He is also still next to the clock that is ticking off time excruciatingly slowly. Another verse just came to me: “God works all things together for the good for those who love Him and are called according to His purposes.” I wonder, did I have this surgery at this Catholic hospital in order to come to know Jesus in a way I might not have otherwise? As a Jewish believer I don’t have much to do with crucifixes. But this one gave me a whole new sense of Jesus’ compassion. Perhaps it was also to share this with one or some of you who are also suffering from being unable to move or cannot get free of the pain you are in, be it physical or emotional. Maybe God, while fixing me, did so this way, this very night, in order that I could share with you His compassion and His motivation to let His people know that He understands what it is to find ourselves in a fix, a fixed situation we cannot avoid or know how to be released from. I believe His most powerful word to each of us is this: “Fear not, for I AM with you!” He is with us, no matter what, to see us through, however long the clock is still ticking.
Our Faithful Savior!