The Close Call by Lisa Burkhardt Worley

With all of the unrest in Israel these days, it would be easy to move a trip to the Holy Land a few places down on the bucket list. For some people I know, going to Israel is not even on their bucket list because of fear. However, God did not give us a spirit of fear.

I could have succumbed to fear early Monday morning as I was scheduled to fly out of Israel’s Ben Gurion International Airport around 12:20 a.m. However, our flight was delayed by protests outside the Tel Aviv airport. It was my understanding that the protests were blocking the highway near the airport and part of our flight crew was prevented from getting to Ben Gurion. This was worrisome because I was tired and ready to return home, despite another wonderful journey to the land of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Thoughts ran through my head. Where will I stay if I can’t get out? Will I just spend the night at the airport? As it turned out, our crew made it through the crowd of protesters, and we were the last flight out that morning. Right after we left, the airport was forced to close down. It was a close call.

By the time I arrived in at New York’s John F. Kennedy Airport, I had received a number of messages from concerned friends, “Are you still in Israel?” “Are you okay?” “Did you get out in time?” I was thankful for my friends and found out through them how bad it really was outside airport property. While thousands of protesters gathered, I was inside the terminal—clueless—waiting to depart.

I am telling you this story because this experience will not keep me from going back to the land. In fact, Pearls of Promise is leading a tour to Israel in January, 2024. When we see skirmishes like this we become afraid, but if God has invited us to Israel, we have to trust that He will watch over us while we are there.

It reminds me of the story of the Israelite spies, sent by Moses to scout out the land of Canaan in Numbers 12-13. After spending 40 days in the land, ten of the spies gave Moses this account: “We went into the land to which you sent us, and it does flow with milk and honey! Here is its fruit. But the people who live there are powerful, and the cities are fortified and very large. We can’t attack those people; they are stronger than we are.” (Numbers 13: 27–28, 31). Those spies spread a bad report amongst the Israelites while Caleb silenced the people and said, “We should go up and take possession of the land, for we can certainly do it” (Numbers 13:30, NIV). Because of this distrust of God’s power, the Israelites wandered another forty years, and only Caleb and Joshua who brought good reports eventually entered the land.

So, I am bringing you a good report, not one of alarm. I felt safe while in Israel. There are military soldiers all around and cameras everywhere. The holy sites are well protected. You will feel the powerful presence of God in Israel because it’s the land where He chose to dwell and the place where His Son, Jesus, walked the earth. Yes, situations can pop up there, but they can also pop up here in the United States. Don’t let what you read and hear scare you. Take the trip of a lifetime and pray for God to meet you there. It’s truly His country.

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