I have been to Palestine and Israel at least 6 times over the past 30 years, and I have come to know and love the people that I meet there. In Bethlehem, in Jericho, along the Golan Heights – these are areas that Jesus knew and loved, too. He played along those streets; He worked in those areas; He was baptized in that river; He healed people.
When I listen to the news of what’s currently going on, I wonder, “What can I do? I’m not over there; I can’t carry food or medicine or do anything!” Thanks to the internet I can order olive wood products from Nissan Brothers and other vendors that I have met, but as for offering immediate help I feel helpless.
I was praying and meditating on this the other day, and God nudged me. God said, “Bring peace to your own hometown.”
I may not currently be able to help the people in Bethlehem, but I can seek out and offer love to people around me. There are hungry, hurting, and lonely people right here in Bonita Springs. I can let God use me to show them His love and acceptance.
The end of violence in the Middle East can only come from nurturing peace. “Eye for an eye” and military might will never bring peace, only love can. And that starts by one person being willing to lay aside his or her hurts, and offer grace to a former enemy.
There are people in our own country who want to spread fear and divisiveness – against anyone who looks, speaks, or believes differently than they do. I want to do what I can to spread hope and healing. I can’t stop those who want to demean others, but I can go stand with those who are being mistreated.
This past week I spent time with our children at New Horizons, talked and prayed with people waiting in line for food, visited the Scouts’ Trunk or Treat, led a Bible study, prayed with our prayer group, and met with another group who would like to use our facilities for ministry. I think that’s why God was nudging me – God was saying, “Bill, you are being My instrument of peace here in your own home.” This doesn’t give me an excuse to ignore world events, but it does give me the assurance that God is able to use my little efforts to build His kingdom here.
“Lord, make me and instrument of Your peace” –
- Rev. Bill