Sometimes I imagine our crazy-loving God must decide He needs to get creative in helping us connect the dots and give us a glimpse of His heart. That’s how I felt today.
First a little background…
I’m traveling this week with a group of women in Israel/Palestine. I saw the Holy sites years ago, but last March when I came, I was like a cartoon character running headlong into this wall that is a concrete (literally! :)) picture of this land and how people feel.
Now I’m back to learn more, listen more, make more new friends.
Palestinian. Israeli. Muslim. Jew. Christian.
We’re pro-everyone, praying to absorb all that we can of the heart of God towards His people. Praying to bring His Spirit of peace and grace into every conversation.
So today I think God got a gleam in His eye and started connecting the dots for us by reminding us of another time He connected the dots for clueless, but well meaning disciples like us.
Divided folks He wanted to bring together.
We spent our first day in Joppa (now called Jaffa). You remember Joppa – the place where Peter was staying with Simon the tanner (Acts 10). Peter’s up on the roof praying when he has a vision where an God invites him to chow down on some pigs in a blanket (non-kosher and, you know…definitely on Peter’s “no-go” list).
Peter resists, but God says, “Do not call anything impure that God has made clean.”
God’s point? Everyone’s invited to this kingdom party, Peter!
Meanwhile, another guy is praying about 40 miles away. A Roman centurion named Cornelius. He hasn’t gotten the word about salvation through Jesus, but he loves God and follows Him, and did I mention the praying part?
So two guys are praying in two different places who don’t know each other and God has some holy mischief up His sleeve.
An angel appears to Cornelius and tells him to send someone to go get Peter.
So he does.
When Peter arrives he says,
“You know, I’m sure that this is highly irregular. Jews just don’t do this—visit and relax with people of another race. But God has just shown me that no race is better than any other. So the minute I was sent for, I came, no questions asked. But now I’d like to know why you sent for me.” MSG
Cornelius explains the angel deal and then…
Peter fairly exploded with his good news: “It’s God’s own truth, nothing could be plainer: God plays no favorites! It makes no difference who you are or where you’re from—if you want God and are ready to do as he says, the door is open. The Message he sent to the children of Israel—that through Jesus Christ everything is being put together again—well, he’s doing it everywhere, among everyone.”
Two guys separated by geography, culture, nationality, & faith background who God brings together.
How do they get to that place?
- They pray – they sit before God and really listen.
- They’re open to crazy new things God has to show them.
- They respond without completely “getting it” because it is God calling the shots, not them.
- They both have to “go” somewhere outside their comfort zone.
The best thing is that this is a picture of people divided, who God brings together.
A picture of what we pray God will do again, here in His Land.
P.S. I really wanted to get onto the roof of Simon the Tanner’s house, but it wasn’t possible. So instead, my friend Chelsea jumped Jason Bourne style to a neighboring roof to get this picture. It’s a reminder to me to pray and be open.