Woe Nellie!

And finally, number one, my most meaningful insight of our trip to Israel: Woe Nellie!  Thank you Jesus for dying to yourself by coming to earth to destroy the work of the devil so that we might have life.
“Woe Nellie!”  That was a phrase often used by our tour guide, Dr. Bryan Widban, whenever he was overcome by emotion while teaching about the amazing moves of God or events in the life of Christ.  We were so blessed by Bryan’s passion for God and his love for the people, and that even after living in Israel and leading between two to three tours a year for the past thirty years, he would still be overcome by emotion and unable to speak because of his awe of God.
As I shared last month, the back drop of so much of our tour was tainted with mankind’s attempt to build his own kingdom.  Much of the destruction we saw and stories we heard were the result of the devil’s work to steal, kill and destroy.  It was sobering to stand on Masada were 900 Essenes took their lives rather than surrender to the Roman army, or to look east to the area of Sodom and Gomorrah.  I sat speechless in the seats of the coliseums in Caesarea and Beth Shean knowing that at one time crowds cheered as Christians were slaughtered and eaten by wild animals.
Those were certainly some sad stories to listen to and places to visit, but none worse than to stand on the Mount of Olives, overlooking the old city of Jerusalem knowing that only three percent of the people in Jerusalem are Christian.  And it was heart breaking to stand in the Garden of Gethsemane and the cell where he was held on the night before his crucifixion.
And yet in the midst of all those discouraging and seemingly hopeless settings, I could still find hope.  Woe Nellie!  God so loved this world (including you and me) that he sent his one and only Son.  God’s Son born in the humble setting of a livestock manger would eventually defeat the devils work by finding himself humbly hanging on a cross.
One of the surprising times that Dr. Widbin was overcome with emotion and whispered a “Woe Nellie” was when we were on the Sea of Galilee.  He was sharing the story of when Jesus was walking on the water and Peter started walking towards him, and then because he was overcome by fear of the raging storm around him, Jesus rescued Peter because he began sinking.
And then quoting the disciples in Mathew 14:32 after Jesus got into the boat and the winds and the waves died down, he said, “Woe Nellie!  Truly you are the Son of God”.
My hope for each one of us, regardless of the storms we face, that we may never become weary of when God reveal’s his glory.  And in those moments when we are overcome by emotion, may we break out into worship uttering a “Woe Nellie, truly Jesus you are the Son of God.”  Thank you, Jesus, for dying to yourself by coming to earth to destroy the work of the devil so that I might have life.”
Woe Nellie!    Mike

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