There is no way to truly describe the emotion that comes when visiting the Wailing Wall (Western Wall) at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. As we walk into the courtyard and the wall comes into view my heart, deep inside my soul begins to ache. Jewish women and children approach the wall on the right. I see some holding back, reading and gazing, some walking toward the wall and some standing at the wall touching it, rocking, placing tiny rolled pieces of paper carrying fervently written prayers in the cracks between the gigantic stones. On the left is a barrier and beyond that barrier are the men who have come to read and pray. Women are not allowed on the left side of the barrier. The men from our group cover their heads and enter. Through one of the cracks I can see men rocking back and forth either standing or sitting. Some are touching the wall and they are also filling the cracks with tiny pieces of paper that have prayers written on them.
I stand in awe as I try to take it all in. God’s chosen people, trying to position themselves in the closest proximity they can get to where the Holy of Holies would have been. The place where God’s presence was. They are weeping over the years of suffering for their people. They are pleading for better times to come. Their devotion to their God, this location, this wall, this history touches me. But my heart is broken into a million pieces as I watch what is happening. These were God’s chosen people. He loves them. And yet, they have rejected His most perfect plan of redemption.
I want to go to each one and tell them again, “The Messiah has come! Prophecy has been fulfilled. Waiting for the Messiah became so important that you missed it when He actually came! Jesus Christ is the Messiah. He came for you just like the scripture said. He died for you. Please, stop your traditions just long enough to open your eyes and your hearts to the truth.”
These precious people are drawing near to a place that represents the old covenant with God. The presence of God in the Holy of Holies is such an amazing part of my Christian heritage. But it is not the substance of my Christian faith. When Jesus died, the curtain in the Holy of Holies that separated God from man was ripped in half from top to bottom. That, my friends was not a coincidence! You can read about it in Matthew 27:50-51 and in the other gospels as well. Jesus became the bridge that joined the longing of our souls to the fulfillment of all the promises of God. Salvation had come. Death was forever defeated. God came to us through Jesus Christ. The new covenant began.
I want to tell those rocking and crying and placing prayers in the cracks of the wall, “Your God has made a way for you! Please listen. He is here, in my heart. Let me share Him with you and you will see. Jesus is the Messiah. God kept His promise to you. God is not in the Holy of Holies, He is in me as the Holy Spirit. He is here. Your waiting is over.”
Now to the lesson. I have been thinking about this post and praying over the words I needed to say for weeks now. It finally started to become more clear. Sometimes I have been so intent on waiting to experience God, waiting to hear an answer, waiting to see Him at work; so intent on carrying out my faith the way I have always done it since I was a child; so intent on the way I think God moves, the way I think God acts, the way I think God gives direction; that maybe I have missed the fulfillment of many of His promises. As individuals, families, and churches….as followers of Christ, maybe we are not that different from the Jews.
I stood at that wall and was so confused as I looked into the faces of these wonderful people. God, how could they have missed their Messiah? Why didn’t they believe? How could they not see? But ever so slowly, as I have labored over this post, God has pulled on my spirit asking me the exact same questions. Kelly, I am working, why can you not see? I am giving you the answer, why do you refuse to hear? I am fulfilling my promises to you, why do you refuse to believe? I am here; ready to be your rock, your anchor, your shelter, your stronghold, your joy, your peace. Why have you not come to Me? I love you…
As we celebrate Palm Sunday next week and as we prepare for Easter, listen for the hard questions. Are you waiting for an answer that has already come? Is your faith firmly planted on the rock of salvation? Are you trusting God to keep His promises to you? Do you truly believe that Jesus is the Messiah, the long awaited one? Is your walk with Christ one of tradition or one of relationship? Is He your anchor in the storm, your joy, your peace? Are you living like you believe it?
Maybe we need to encourage each other more often with these words, “Your God has made a way for you. He is here, in my heart. Let me share Him with you. The Messiah has come! Jesus is alive. God is with you. He loves you..
This week may you feel the presence of God. May you take some time away from tradition to see Him in fresh, new ways. May you once again feel the breath of the Holy Spirit moving in your soul. May your spirit speak the words over and over again, “The Messiah has come. Emmanuel, God with us!”