Praise be the Name of the Lord God Almighty! I pray and trust this message finds you all blessed and highly favored. Personally, I’m jamming out to the new Gungor album and thanking Jesus for every breath that God the Father allows for me. It has been an extremely interesting few days. I’ll run you through the rough stuff, but know that Paige and I are well and looking forward to our blessing from Heaven. Our firstborn, Kenneth Coomer IV, will be here in less than three weeks. We are also excited about the resulting visit from my parents, who are coming to assist us in the first couple weeks of his existence. I have to say that as excited as we are to welcome the little one, we have not gotten much sleep this week. In both turmoil and triumph, we have had far too much action this week to waste time sleeping.
First things first! This week during a Bible class with the entire sixth grade, I taught a lesson about humility and the route to Jesus (combo Romans 10:9-10, and Matt. 20:20-29). The result was the nothing less than the accomplishment of everything I came here in hopes of doing. After completing the lesson and asking how many students could “believe with your heart” that Jesus Christ is Lord, several children raised their hands. As a result, we prayed the “sinner’s prayer” and 22 children either accepted Christ or rededicated their lives to Christ. It was an amazing experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life. God is actively reaching in and changing the lives of so many young believers here in the West Bank. I cannot wait to see what God does next! This act of dedication was the reward after a significantly difficult night.
The night before was intimidating and shaking, but also a great comfort to me. It started out as usual – my pregnant wife getting up and down several times for trips to the bathroom. If you didn’t already know, babies push on a mom’s bladder until she is making trips to the restroom two or three times an hour. All was on par until approx. 4:50 am, when a large blast shook us from sleep. That sound was as familiar to me as my own mothers voice; I knew exactly what was going on. As I lay there staring at the ceiling, frozen, I intently focused on any sound that might catch my attention and waited for what should come next. Eventually it came: shrill screams of women up and down our block. I quickly got dressed, and with passport and binoculars in hand, up to the roof I went. Once on the roof I discovered that the IOC (Isreali Occupation Forces) were in our neighborhood, rolling past our building with speed. Later we would discover that the IOC blasted the metal door off the house adjacent to our building, and arrested a Hamas member. I also discovered that the screaming was unrelated to the IOC’s presence. My focus shifted back to the sounds coming from the house of our direct neighbor. His wife was running through the street, desperately calling “Habib il mayt” to all who might listen. Directly translated: “my love is dead.” Apparently, as the IOC raided the house (which shares a backyard with our neighbor) the wife awoke and tried to wake her husband, only to find that he had unfortunately died sometime in his sleep. Her hysterical screaming resulted in the IOC egressing rather quickly. The fallout of the neighborhood raid was one dead, one captured and one (myself) completely humbled.
I’ve been many places in my life and done things that most people might consider brave or bold. However the events of this night left me feeling vulnerable and shaken. Was I scared? No. In fact, in the moments leading up to and during the raid I was actually just intrigued and excited for the action. My wife was safe inside, I was on a roof that was barely visible to the street, and we were not in any danger. Also, we were protected by the promise of Psalm 91 “a thousand may fall at your side and ten thousand at your right hand but it shall not come near you.” Thus, the idea of fear never entered my thought process! We are safe in Jesus’ name. The great impact of the nights’ events were nothing compared to the lives changed the next day. This week was a microcasm of our lives as Christians; when we seek to be used by God we have to understand that we will be tested. How can we expect to be used if we cannot pass the temperance test that God has allowed to be placed before us? Who are we to question the trials that God allows us to go through, without knowing what challenges these tests are preparing us for? When do we decide to “let go, and let God?” I know you’re thinking, “it is easy to ‘let go’ when you can’t control anything, but I got this.” No matter how much you think you can handle, there will always be the proverbial straw that breaks the camel’s back. So, why not give it all to Him now? Why not let Jesus have complete control of your life and let Him decide where you will go from here? Let God decide how much you can handle and praise Him through the trials and the triumph. After all, no matter how hard it is, “He shall give His angels charge over you, to keep you in all your ways. In their hands they will bear you up, you will not dash your foot against a stone.” Psalm 91. We are His chosen, so live in His promise. I love you all and look forward to seeing you in the next few months. Keep us in your prayers.
Kenneth H. Coomer III