This article was first published here on February 1st 2018.
Eitan Shishkoff Pastor Emeritus
As I write, winter rains have
finally arrived in earnest, here in the Galilee. And though few areas of
israel experience truly cold weather, we are bundled up in our apartments,
enjoying a soaking rainfall so desperately needed.
While the meteorological winds bring shifts in season, geopolitical winds
bring shifts in the climate of nations. Without question, we are living in
times of shifting relationship among countries. One example is the recent
thaw between Israel and Saudi Arabia. "Who'd a thunk it?"
Along with these shifts, as if feeling the early tremors of an approaching
earthquake, our own psyche absorbs and responds to change in varied
manifestations. We've been wired with numerous physical-emotional sensors
that signal new data impacting our lives. That new data could be as distant
as a natural disaster or war we see on the internet. Or it could be as close
and personal as a family crisis.
Are you sensing a shift in the world, in your spiritual community, in your
own life? I am. It may be the logical consequence of reaching a major life
milestone. I've hit the big "Seven-Oh." Like modern Israel, I was born in
1948. So in 2018 we both celebrate seventy years. In addition, there are
substantial shifts going on in my ministry roles. While I'm still a pioneer
at heart, this season is more about mentoring, coaching, fathering.
It's a good shift. I'm liking this season. At the same time it's weird. There
are unanswered questions, occasional uncertainty and unfamiliar territory
relationally. Where is the Lord in all of this? Where am I in the process of
His design for me? And how can I give myself fully to His Majesty, the
Our patriarchs provide pertinent patterns:
MOSES: "Where are you, God?"
In the remote wilderness, Moses' God spoke to him from a burning bush. In the
Exodus description, the shepherd Moses "turned aside ... (to see) why the
bush does not burn." He was not expecting a divine encounter. The Lord
proceeded to strike up a conversation, informing the future deliverer of his
assignment to free all Israel from slavery. Moses asked God, "Who am I that I
should go to Pharaoh and ... bring the children of Israel, out of Egypt?"
(Exodus 3:11). God's answer sounds indirect: "I will certainly be with you"
(Exodus 3:12). But it answers Moses' unstated question: "Where are YOU gonna
be in all of this, Lord?"
This is my question in a shifting season: "Lord, where are you? I need you
right here next to me. I don't always feel your nearness. My insecurities are
leaking out. Help!"
This is the very moment God waits for. He undoubtedly steered the interview
with Moses to this very revelation. So often in Scripture His servants faced
intimidating situations. His standard reply is one I need to hear when I'm
asking (with desperation), "Where ARE you, Lord?" God said then, and He says
now, "Here I am. I am with you. Fear not. I will be with you."
JOSEPH: "Where am I?"
An innocent man, imprisoned for years on end, Joseph must have wondered,
"Will this ever end. Where am I? How could this have happened? What are you
trying to do to me, Lord?"
The answer would not come before delay after delay wrought a steel-like
character within Jacob's rejected son. He could not possibly have foreseen
the outcome. Yet he somehow trusted the process he was being taken through.
Knowing that our Designer has a sure design, a fine-tuned purpose for our
life, makes a huge difference in uncertain times.
Early in my walk with Yeshua, I was introduced to this lasting wisdom from
Solomon: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own
understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your
paths" (Proverbs 3:5). As the seasons of life and history shift, I'd best not
lean on my understanding. But I can return to the Lord and ask, "Where do you
see me in relation to the destiny you have for me? What is this season about?
How can I cooperate with your hands as the Potter shaping my life?"
ABARAHAM: "Here I am."
"Here I am." These are the words Abraham said to God just before the Lord
instructed him to sacrifice his son as a burnt offering. This is a level of
surrender to which I honestly cannot relate. That wasn't all. Then, Abraham
repeated the same words to Isaac, before his son asked him where they would
find the lamb to slaughter. By this time my insides are quivering, even as I
write this 4000 years later, knowing that Isaac was rescued and didn't have
to become a burnt offering!
I believe there's a profound and practical message here for me and for you.
Over and over, men and women of God have responded to bewildering,
overwhelming, shifting circumstances by surrendering all to the Master of
Life, by trusting the God Who Sees all (Genesis 16:13). After all, we
ourselves quite obviously see only a very small part of the total picture. I
think of Esther, of David, of Paul the Apostle.
When I feel unsafe and off balance, that's the very time to turn toward my
God with a wide open heart. It is the time to renew my awareness that He is
the Potter and I am His clay. It is the time to come before Him with radical
listening. "Here I am, Lord," as young Samuel said, "Speak, for your servant
hears" (1 Samuel 3:10).
Here, there is power amidst our weakness. Here, there is peace in the storm
of season's change. Yeshua bids me to return to Him with fresh surrender.
Standing still, we will see Him. Discerning where we are in our journey, we
will gain wisdom. Surrendering before His sovereign love, we will rise to
meet the winds of change.
to support the work and vision of Ohalei Rachamim.
There have been comments to this article ...
4:33pm 01Feb18, TD: Your opening comments describe exactly my own thoughts and
I am now 76 years old. For some reason, on my 70th birthday, I
realized that I was now the Biblical "Three Score and Ten", and
if my "warranty" was about to expire that was perfectly alright
with me; I had managed keep this old body intact far longer than
I expected. It was a totally "Liberating" experience. Now, six
years further on, I wake up each morning wondering why I'm still
here! I still work 50-hours a week and have no interest in
retiring. I never take vacations, not since 1968! I have no idea
what use I am to others, to God or to myself. I study a lot, I
pray a lot, I try to be "available" to whatever The Lord might
send my way. I also have a LOT of "premonitions" which virtually
always come to pass, but to what purpose? These are NOT
earth-shaking or life-changing events those they happen to. Life
is School, but sometimes I think I'm still in kindergarten. Does
that sound familiar? Whatever we experience, it's for a reason,
even if we think it's a BORING reason...not unlike my experience
with algebra in high school.
5:07pm 01Feb18, Kathy: Good and helpful insights. One comes to expect good things from
Tikkun. I am blessed in these days of trial as the word goes
forth from Zion to the very west coast of the United States.
5:30pm 01Feb18, Margaret Zehnder: Me too! I am 72 and have been a Christian Marriage, Family, Ind.
and Group Therapist. Having had some health issues, I find
myself asking what now Lord? Thank you for sharing. Enjoying
you weekly on Zola!
10:48pm 01Feb18, Connie Hixenbaugh: This speaks volumes to my soul as I am in a battle with breast
cancer. Please pray for me.
9:44am 02Feb18, Elizabeth Powell: Thank you so much for this article. I am having to work hard at
my new circumstances without my beloved Mike. I share my life and
home with many people but inevitably I end up home alone. I find
myself asking "What is it all about?" Yes I am experiencing a
major shift and your article is very timely. The answers will
come I know!
2:25pm 05Feb18, Don Knebel: My thoughts exactly, about to turn 69. I have had my role change
somewhat at Shul, going into a different direction. It seems
exciting and a little daunting at the same time. This world has
some serious issues so thanks for the good advice and
2:28am 07Feb18, Sarah: Very on point with this article. Thank you for sharing your
6:28am 09Feb18, NH: I feel so refreshed reading your article. It is just what God
wanted me to hear as I ponder on my next season of life. I feel
affirmed and assured that He is with me and will lead me on if
only I surrender to His will. May He bless you richly for
sharing this with us.
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