My full name is Alice, and as a kid, I was often referred to as “Alice in Wonderland.” I never minded the reference, which was most always said in affection, but now I can say I have “been to Wonderland,” and its name is Israel. I was born in 1953, when what we now know as the State of Israel was only 5 years old. Its miraculous re-establishment was an undisputed and joyful part of the triumphant aftermath of WWII, and ironically, what put the United Nations on the map. At the age of 12, deeply disturbed by what was going on in my own country during the Civil Rights era, I immersed myself in the dark depths of the history of the Holocaust, the denial of which simply did not exist as it does today. For the life of me, I could not understand how people could do anything like that, but in my own country, little girls died from the bomb of terrorists while they were at church.
I remember, even though at the time I was not a believer, the awe I felt as I read in Life magazine the news of Israel’s victory in the Six Day War. Even the secular media had to acknowledge the divine intervention that facilitated their victory. I remember when members of the Israeli Olympic team were murdered by jihadists at the 1972 Munich Games, and I felt like I was 12 again. We indeed find ourselves in the epic battle of good vs evil.
As poignant as those memories are, being in the land where it all began, and is still going on is indescribable, as is the grief I feel at having to leave it. My faith has been strengthened as I saw the field where David fought Goliath, and I am bringing home a rock for my husband Steve, who is the warrior in and for my life.
My heart ached as I saw a picture of Whitney Houston being baptized in the River Jordan as she made a pilgrimage to this land, and my heart danced as
I got to sing and play my guitar, celebrating at the Jordan the baptisms of people from all over the world. I will always feel the coolness against my head of the Wailing Wall, and without any apology I tore a tiny piece of paper from a ticket stub and wrote a five word prayer for my family. I watched as people of faith from all over the world did likewise, tucking the longings of their hearts into the wall’s cracks.
I made a deeper decision to walk in forgiveness and away from victimization as I was at the pools of Bethesda, and the music of praise and worship that emanated from several sites was utterly restorative.
My appreciation for the Israeli Defense Forces?\ is discussed at length in this edition’s All Things Soldier. My hunger for a deeper understanding of God’s Word as it relates to Israel has been both satisfied and intensified by Rabbi Jonathan Cahn, NY Times best-selling author of “The Harbinger”, and “The Shemita.” From a completely different angle, the same thing happened as a result of listening to World Net Daily co-founder Joseph Farah, himself a Lebanese American who came out of a radical background like mine prior to becoming a Christian. From the Scriptures as well as current news he made it clear that not only is Israel’s existence being threatened, but the future survival of the entire nation of Egypt. This is because of the ecological disaster of the Great Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, currently under construction. It is no exaggeration, either from what is reported in the news, or recorded in Scripture that Egypt is about to experience something truly apocalyptic because of human pride. God help them.
No doubt I will be writing about this trip for years, and by God’s grace I will return many times. I hope I never come to the last story of this personal journey. I feel as though I have been here for months, and I hope that someday this will in fact be the case.
What do I mean when I talk about being in “The Land of Ascension?” It is the term for everything from “going up” to Jerusalem, to Psalm 122 when it says “let us go up to the house of the Lord,” to the name of Israel’s commercial airline, El Al. It is the passion of every Israeli I met, no matter what has gone on before, to now take a step and “go up,” even if progress is only miniscule.
What “got me at hello?” It was when we were bleary eyed, experiencing jet lag after a long flight, somewhat disoriented, and being led to our bus, where we fell into comfortable seats and pondered our next step. Our travel agency co-owner, the wife of a man who fought in the Six Day War sprang up the steps and said, “Welcome Home. Thank you for coming to Israel.” Whatever befalls me from here on out, may I live to be so gracious. Shalom to you all.
By: Ali Elizabeth Turner