The secret of the LORD is with them that fear Him. Psalm 25:14
Today is the first day of Purim and all of Israel is celebrating. This is one of my favourite feasts because it is time to “let down” to enjoy and send packages of cookies, cakes and chocolates to family, neighbours and friends. Yes, just like we are instructed in Esther 9:22. This historical account ensures that we remember and celebrate God’s preservation of the Jewish people.
…as the days on which the Jews had rest from their enemies, as the month which was turned from sorrow to joy for them, and from mourning to a holiday: that they should make them days of feasting and joy, of sending presents to one another and gifts to the poor.
There you have it… our LORD God put down our enemies of old and told His children to remember, observe and keep this time of deliverance and salvation throughout our generations! Now what does that teach us about Father God? Like Billy Graham of blessed memory said, “I want to get to know God better and better. I’ll live one billion years and still just be getting started!”
So, when we go about our daily business to the post office, grocery store or gas station we run into children and adult celebrates dressed up as snow flakes, superman, Ghandi, princesses, Queen Esther, Donald Trump, angels, butterflies, Moses, Tin Tin and hundreds more… The teller at the bank this morning was a “cow girl” complete with pistol. It is a fun time! And, yes we do rejoice. Yet our hearts are pained for the slaughter going on inside of Syria in the suburbs of Damascus and all the world seems completely powerless to stop the slaughter of innocents. This is where our prayers count in the Throne Room. Let us serve notice on Assad and Putin and their regimes!
You may wonder why I chose the verse at the beginning for this letter? Well, last night we had a Purim Feast with our four sons, David, Chris, Josh and Daniel as Chris and his beautiful wife Terhi and identical 11 year old twins were with us from Finland. We were also celebrating the JOY of just being together. Well, over dinner this story came up in our conversation and I thought I would share it with you now.
During dinner I revisited a precious experience I had the spring of 1976. We arrived in Israel, at Passover to settle here full time. Actually, we sailed from Italy into the Port of Haifa, having lived in Southern France for two years. Before that we were in South America for two years, and before that, in the Philippines! For details I encourage you to request and read Fishers and Hunters.
Our boys entered Hebrew schools; David was in grade 2, Chris in kindergarten and Josh with the 2-3 year olds. Jay was studying Hebrew at the University in Haifa. I was enrolled in a smaller ulpan near home. That way, I could walk to the gan (kindergarten) at mid day and bring Josh home. We were a pretty typical immigrant family arriving with just the clothes on our backs and high hopes. So we began our lives a new in a brand new country and culture. It certainly was not the Canada we had known…
That spring, my Hebrew school took us on a tour to beautiful Zikron Ya’acov about a 40 minute drive south of Haifa. Perched a top the foothills of the Carmel Mountain range it over looks the Mediterranean Sea. Here and in the plain, Baron Rothschild purchased land from Arabs in the late 1800’s and planted extensive vineyards. His plan was to create sustainable jobs and local enterprise in the land. The tour included a trip to the famous winery… but on the way our class passed by the graveyard where the Rothschilds lay. The Hebrew inscription on Madame Rothschild’s headstone translated into English for us new comers read:
“She was much loved in that she feared [respected] God.
I was immediately struck by the unique description of this person. “What kind of a person was this lady? I wondered. She must have been someone very special, for obviously her family gave her one of the highest honours by referring to her belief in God.” My curiosity got the better of me, and I made arrangements to pick the tour up at the bus in the parking lot, on our way out of the village. After the group left, I found myself sitting on the end of the carefully manicured grave. Here lay one of Israel’s matriarchs. How odd a thing to do in the natural…, yet, I was drawn to stay a while. Glued to the spot, I felt, as if I belonged here for some reason? What was this marvellous sense of comfort and acceptance that I, a brand new immigrant was experiencing? Here I was, feeling right at home in Israel in the sanctified space allotted to the remains of Madame Rothschild. In spite of the obvious differences, an over powering sense of at-one-ment…comforted me. It was as through I had been ‘cut from the same cloth’. I knew that I also belonged here and in time would make a contribution! In the quiet desertion of an Israeli graveyard, consciously, I savoured the sweet stillness and sense of eternal quiet. It was a very private moment.
When one is visited by a hovering sense of history, or destiny or call it Eternity… a completely different dimension outside of our 24/7 time frame, comes into play. Permission to glimpse into Eternity past, present and future leaves no space for mere words. My finite moment was enveloped and expanded backward and forward in that instant of perfectly still rest. I had just happened upon it, and was irresistibly drawn into it. And beautifully, I allowed myself to rest there at perfect peace.
Unexpectedly, the silent Voice sounded throughout my person. I describe it as that absolutely true invisible Still Small Voice that is never wrong, never. I have learned to stake my life on its veracity. “You will be like Madame Rothschild, the finances will pour through your hands!”
That solid pronouncement was; a statement of faith, and a promise for my life time!
The weight of this revelation rested upon and within me; it did NOT originate within me. The blessed Spirit of Truth spoke with complete surety and therefore, I had no reason to doubt. Those words fell into my heart, my soul, my spirit, my body. They were absorbed, becoming a part of my very DNA from that moment to this. My life was forever set on things above. I left that place renewed, with the knowledge that daily, I could trust our ONE true Friend and Guide unto death.
From that day forward I understood that dear pioneering Madame Rothschild was a lover of the Lord God of Israel, and had learned to trust Him above all others. For her, He was the Giver of good gifts, helping her in her life’s work of quenching the insatiable thirst found in this needy land. The same Holy One, drew me, and permitted me to receive a portion of the eternal legacy of faith, for which I am humbled. He and He alone is my focus; and the Lover of my soul.
Looking back over the, full and unique lives Jay and I and our sons have been blessed to enjoy, I explained to our men: “To me, the need of finances were simply the ‘oil’ needed for the machinery of faith to operate smoothly. They were not the focus of our lives. We never had the finances needed for any project the LORD laid before us. He demanded that we trust Him! This is what most boards and cooperations never understood. We don’t understand, but we were determined to trust and obey. It works!”
Here you can see the beautiful Memorial Gardens to the Rothschild family: http://www.ramat-hanadiv.org.il/en/content/gallerypage/memorial-gardens-gallery
My letter thanks you for your love gifts for the various aspects of our lives as a family, Israel Vision and Still Small Voice. First we were parents, and then Jay led the way in the production of 150 documentaries, hundreds of TV talk shows created in Jerusalem, along with staff salaries, living expenses, and all of the years of travel and ministry. I headed up work with the sexually abused in many countries giving seminars, counselling and writing books. Jay says that the combined budget would be incalculable. We keep good books and pay taxes to the various authorities. To God be ALL the glory. Over dinner last night I reminded the family that we have always given with open hands and hearts and have never suffered want. Yet… it continues to be a day by day walk.
Several of you have encouraged me to rest, and others have asked when I will return to Nepal. I certainly hope to do so along with children and grandchildren as well. But, now I am needed in my family. Jay is getting on his feet and doing very well, but tires easily. My work is to watch out for him. This is needed at this time, as he tends to ‘over do’ it and must rest.
Thank you for your letters. I am so delighted to hear your news, and see your hand writing. And so my heart is filled with gratefulness today, for the JOY of being alive, for the JOY of being part of this miracle nation in it’s 70th year, for the JOY of strength and health, and the JOY of family and last but certainly not least, the JOY of my work. I love to communicate with you and pray this finds you prospering and in good health even as your soul prospers. With love from,
Meridel Rawlings PhD. Box 84156, Mevasseret Zion, 9079097 ISRAEL