Thursday, December 20, 2007

Reflections on Israel; Number One: A lesson

First, an apology to my readers. i have failed to post on here for a while due to the hectic schedule i have kept during the last days of IBEX. so, to catch up, i will write a series of reflections.

What did I learn in Isreal? Was it a simple passing of the time in a foreign land where no one spoke my native tongue? I sure hope i didn't pay for that... i can't afford that luxury. Instead i have learned many things. May I never forget the many and sundry things the Lord, Yeshua HaMeshiah, (“Jesus the Messiah” in Hebrew) taught me while there.

The lesson of inestimable value I was taught was prayer. In my devotional life, I found myself describing God the same ways, or with the same language I have always used, but much to my dismay, I did not feel like I was describing God. One Tuesday morning it suddenly dawned on me that I was not describing God, but how I experienced God at home. On the same hand of this realization, I found that I did not have the words to describe how God is. Was it for a sudden lack of vocabulary? No, but simply because God was no longer working the same ways within me. You see, the effect of being uprooted from America and transplanted in Israel for a short time caused me to lose all my ministries: skid row, dorm life, church ministries… ect—Ministries I love! Since I no longer had these ministries in hand, I was forced to feel for new ministries while I was in Israel. Therefore, I could no longer use the same language to praise Him. Praise the Lord! I cannot tell you how being forced out of routine prayers has blessed me. How redundant and bland my former manner of prayer seems! I also realized I need to praise God, not for how I perceive Him, but for how He perceives Himself. This seems so basic, but I found my perceptions of Him through the lens of my feelings. This taints any pure knowledge of who he is. When I would pray for comfort, I would actually be praying to feel comfortable. When I would pray for strength, I would actually be praying to feel brave. When I did not feel strong, confident, brave, comfortable, or loved, I felt my prayers were unanswered. This is an easy mistake. It is oh, so easy to forget to praise God for who he is and “praise” him for who you feel He is. True praise only exists when it is based on an accurate understanding of who He is rather than a clear perception of who I feel He is.

In Christ,

~John Lafferty