14 Oct Caught in War: A Woman’s Perspective
Caught in War: A Woman’s Perspective
By Julie Terry
As I sit on a balcony overlooking a beautiful pool in Jordan, all seems calm. Our mealtimes have been filled with multicultural experiences, with people from literally all over the world visiting here, and there is much politeness and pleasantries. However, we all know this calm is but an illusion, and we are, on the inside, eagerly awaiting our home, going from this place, eerily too close to a war zone and unsure of who our friends are here.
Our fifth trip to the Holy Land began with the smoothest travel day we have ever experienced: short layovers, very little lost luggage, etc. With a group of 54, this was a huge blessing. Attitudes were positive as we adjusted to the 7-hour time difference, and when we met our guide, Foteh, everyone felt more at ease! I was thinking about how this may be my favorite trip yet! It was so refreshing to have a Christian tour guide who was already a familiar friend. The weather was beautiful, and we saw more than what was on our agenda each day.
On the third morning of our tour, we began the day with a boat ride on the Sea of Galilee, where Zach read and taught from Mark 4: 35-41
He focused on the truth that the disciples were filled with fear AFTER they saw Jesus calm the storm! Why be afraid when now they were safe? They realized they were in the presence of One who is MORE POWERFUL than the storm that had almost killed them.
We were all praising Jesus for His power and love for us and even learned a traditional Jewish dance before we deported. Little did we know what had been happening just a few hours south of us.
We first got word that there had been an attack on a party near Gaza. Israelis get a lot of fake news, so our guide was busy contacting friends to see if what they had heard was true. Zach called me close and filled me in, and then we boarded our bus and explained why the museum we had planned to visit had decided to close out of uncertainty.
From there, each decision was touch and go while simultaneously not inciting panic in our group. The truth we had just been reminded of that God is more powerful than anything we are afraid of, was a source of great comfort and strength for us.
Men vs. Women
The way Zach and I processed the news we have heard throughout the week has been markedly different.
Protection: The first day, he wanted to make sure he was personally armed somehow, so he bought a knife from a gift shop. He wanted me to stay close to him and the group to stay together wherever we were (not unusual, but heightened now). He thought through how our hotel doors with electric locks would open if the power went out and of course, whether it was safe to fly home. Provision: He ensured we had money and that our kids had what they needed. He heard of a humanitarian plane to get our group to Cypress but wanted to be sure we would all have a place to go, food and water, and money for flights home. Leadership: He gathered information from many sources, was constantly checking current events, and reached out to any connections for help to get out…while working with the guide to keep things moving as normally as possible. He was on a mission,
Nurturing: As for me, I was wondering how everyone in our group was doing emotionally. There were some in our group who had never been out of the country and some who had dreamed of this trip for 40 years! Some never turned on the news or looked online, and others were being sent every news story and possibility. I learned quickly that there was a correlation between my own peace/positivity and that of the group, particularly the ladies, so I needed to keep at peace on the inside so my outside wouldn’t show fear. I struggled with the guilt of knowing hard information and not sharing it vs. sharing hard information and terrifying someone. I did both at various points and prayed for wisdom moment by moment. Following: Never have I found more peace in “trust and obey.” Realizing that the best thing I could do was trust God, believe His promises, and trust Him to lead me through my husband, I constantly felt the Holy Spirit leading me to be quiet, be still, don’t suggest another idea, and let him have time to think. Boundaries: The first few days, I was watching the news and trying to keep up with what was happening, Then, once we were in Jordan, I heard two things that, for some reason, hit me extra hard emotionally. First, the news that our flight home would happen after our daughter’s birthday. I had known this was a real possibility but was probably unrealistically hopeful that we would get home in time. Second, there was a call for a global jihad on Friday…and we were set to leave on Saturday and Sunday. So we would be stuck in a Muslim country…and the “what-ifs” about our people’s safety began to build.
This was just too much, and my tears began to flow, and didn’t want to stop. It seemed like we were SO close…and in a better situation than our friends. We had just left in Israel, so shouldn’t I be happy and more at peace? Why would the same God who had safely gotten us out forget about us now? I was reminded of Elijah and the exhaustion/despair he felt after his great victory on Mt. Carmel. But instead of an angel bringing me bread, I had Zach bring me dinner, a quiet evening alone, and understanding when I asked to have information filtered before giving it to me: only essentials, no more horrific details.
The lessons from this experience will unfold and build in the coming days, but my biggest takeaway is that significant risk and faith can coincide. Our Savior may be most easily understood when everything else is unknown. Many missionaries and Christian brothers and sisters experience this daily, and now we understand, just a little better, the reason for the hope that is in them.