The Rains Have Come! Jackie Santoro
I was looking out my window a few days ago and the sky is filled with ominous dark clouds. It had rained and was threatening to rain again. And although rain is usually an event we look forward to happily, this time I was struck that this dark sky was a picture of our nation in these last days.
Israel is in crisis, the likes of which I have never seen in the 25 years I have lived here. The current government is an extreme religious, right-wing government and has recently begun to promote legislation that is causing the dark clouds of division, polarization and dissension to engulf the Knesset and the country at large.
The nation is embroiled in a severe conflict over the government’s proposed legislation to reform the judicial system, focusing on changes in the Supreme Court. The political opposition and many others vehemently oppose this legislation. Despite calls to work towards compromise, at this time the government is pushing forward to enact this reform.
In response, for the last seven weeks, there have been massive demonstrations with over 90,000 people filling the streets, inflammatory rhetoric being spoken on both sides and emotions running very high, even in the Knesset meetings. One member was brought to tears as she watched the Knesset meeting turn into chaos, with much shouting and yelling at each other.
At the time of this writing, a huge demonstration is happening in front of the Knesset with various roads around the country being blocked. Those opposing are saying it will be the end of democracy and those for it are saying it will cause the nation to be more democratic. Various high-level people are saying that we are seeing the first signs of an economic crisis. Many hi-tech companies have taken out their money funds from Israel to other banks worldwide as they try to protect themselves from a potential financial fall out as a result of this reform.
Because of his ongoing court case, PM Netanyahu has been legally forbidden to take an active role in this conflict, tying his hands to help negotiate a compromise with the opposing sides.
In the last few weeks, we have had a series of some tragic terrorist attacks with the last two initiated by Palestinian teenage boys. The spirit of hatred and violence has been increasing in all areas. The very radical politicians like Smotrich and Ben Gvir are calling for certain actions by police that are very hard line and that ignore all diplomatic nuances, keeping Netanyahu caught in the middle as he tries to keep the country from extremism and to yet maintain the coalition. This is becoming more difficult each day as these more radical politicans are not satisfied with the level of authority being assigned to them.
And all this is happening against the devasting backdrop of the earthquakes in Turkey and Syria. Israel was able to send a rescue team which saved 17 lives before it returned to Israel. A field hospital has also been set up and is helping the innumerable wounded and traumatized.
At the same time, Israel had 5 very minor quakes which caused no damage although could be felt in various places. Israel is apprehensive about the possibility of a significant earthquake at some time soon. In response, a major project is being proposed to make all the vulnerable, older buildings throughout the country earthquake proof.
Please pray for this nation that in the midst of this turmoil, God will rise and show His compassion to this nation He loves. Pray that hearts would turn to their Messiah in increasing measure as the ground underneath them begins to shake. Pray that calm will be restored and terror attacks averted. Pray for PM Netanyahu to hear the counsel of Heaven in the midst of the storm and lead this government in a way that is beneficial for the whole nation.
With all this increase in darkness and turmoil, we have good news! Our congregation, Ahavat Yeshua is shining brightly and we are growing in love and in His purposes. Our meetings have an air of excitement and we are learning how to open the door for the Holy Spirit and how to keep it open! This Shabbat, we had one of our best meetings ever as the Holy Spirit took over and we worshiped for 90 minutes, unable to stop! There was prayer for the young children and we watched as they were touched deeply by the Spirit and even some were crying.
We have a great leadership team and we are learning to speak the truth in love and to grow together as we learn to appreciate our unique differences. Our current schedule of three main meetings with the fourth being a smaller geographical group is flowing well and there is a greater sense of intimacy among all our members. Hallelujah and all Glory to God!
The Widow’s group that I hosted was very special and we are all looking forward to the next time we meet.
On a personal note, I am planning to fly to Florida on February 23 for several weeks. It is never easy for me to take a trip alone but I am encouraged by the Lord that in Him I can do all things because He strengthens me! I know that He has purposes other than what I can see and I am open to being His ambassador as I leave Israel and head west. I will be visiting friends and family including a Messianic congregation. I will also be visiting with a friend who was recently widowed and who is looking forward to sharing our experiences. Please pray that I would go in His peace and joy, ready to walk through every open door. Pray for divine encounters which make everything worthwhile.
I thank you always for your prayers and support. As I look out my window now, the skies are clear and cloudless and the sun is shining. God never fails! No matter what we face, His mercies are new every day and hope never disappoints us because He has shed his love abroad in our hearts. May our eyes be fixed on Him always and forever.
With love from Zion,