40 years in the kingdom

Life is neither fair nor equal. Some are born with unearned beauty, health and wealth, while others born ugly and in poverty. Some are born as Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists, Christians or Atheists, all in places and societies they never asked for and genes inherited. External conditions are distributed as they are and will be. And la condition humaine- the human condition- only with great difficulty is challenged by God Himself, like a broken machine resisting the touch of the master mechanic.

Even Christians and Messianics, though allegedly ‘born again’, the thorns of former times yet prick, and continue to wrestle with the same obstacles and distractions as the disconnect between the heavenly vision and the earthly reality remains. The human condition with its quirks and appetites and feelings prevails against the hand of God, as even in the house of the saved one may obtain the severest wounds from the sharpest arrows, and disappointments even from one’s own progeny, as did King David (Psalm 55). In that house one will find wolves in sheep’s clothing, but also delightful sheep in wolves’ clothes. Doctrinal disputes aside, there are also some genuinely fine and good loving people who get better yet, and some less good people who improve but little, who replace Gospel with gossip, and encouragement with slander and betrayal, unfortunately. Some dispense magic and presumptive speculation, others real love.

But in our patience and longsuffering we will obtain, persisting and overcoming to the end. As Churchill suggested when the terrible war went badly, “Keep buggering on- never, never give up,” until victory was achieved. In the ongoing struggle against the perversions of the world, the flesh and its lusts, and yes, the Devil who is the father of lies, the solution for the human condition is not found in us, but is not far from us. We have tried every human utopian device. There is but one other viable address: in Him who has never failed me, who has tested me in sickness and in health, in war and in peace these past forty years, but has brought me through every struggle, and given me every desire of my heart to this moment. And thus it may be reasonably assured that the best and greatest is still yet to come, and remains to be seen.

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Elhanan ben-Avraham
Elhanan ben-Avraham, born in 1945, is a professional artist, poet, writer and father of two, grandfather of four, living in Israel since 1979. He has served in the IDF, taught the Bible internationally, published five illustrated books of poetry, painted two large Biblical murals in public buildings in Jerusalem, and most recently produced THE JERUSALEM ILLUSTRATED BIBLE, among many other works. He and his wife live in a quiet village in the Mountains of Judah.