by haRold Smith
from Jerusalem, Israel
I am totally and completely overwhelmed at the Goodness of the Faithful One in my life.
If I had reason to walk in humility at the sack full of emails I received as a result of the article, "His Name is Y'shua", (click to view) I am thrice humbled from the amount of email I have received since publishing the article that followed, "Reproof and Correction." The number of email I received in confirmation, support and encouragement from you because of what I shared was - well, overwhelming. Your letters to me this time outnumbered those of before at least three to one, comparatively.
What touched me more than the physical size of the responses, however, were the number of you who shared your stories about how the Lord has used some of the words from these articles to touch you in some place in your life that brought you into a clearer realization of Who He is and to draw you in deeper to Him. I wept. I am still weeping from the joy that has flooded my soul over the privilege of being allowed to come into the presence of Royalty (I am talking about you, now) - before my brothers and sisters of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords who is Our Friend and to be able to share bits and pieces of His Life that He has worked in me so as to be a blessing to you. It makes every step of this journey worthwhile.
It would take forever to respond to each one of you individually who so graciously wrote because of the sheer number of letters there were. So, please, accept this as my personal thank you.
Your emails over the last few days have been the cherry atop the events of my soda this past month. Since we started on a personal note, please allow me to continue to indulge with you in the Goodness of this Magnificent God we serve. Some of you might recall my sharing of a heart attack (to be referenced henceforth as "my heart event") that came on me last September, two days before my 60th birthday (see "Preserving Our Life").
At the time this heart event was happening, a dear saint who had just quit the medical profession after 25 years, Perry Smith (no relation) of Gainesville, Texas, was on the phone with me and had the unction from the Holy Spirit to pray the Lord would, not just heal my heart, but give me a new one. The next day, I got up and drove 100 miles to spend my birthday with my daughter - something Perry says just doesn't happen after someone has experienced the kind of heart trauma I did. It was pretty severe.
Not having sought that healing, but knowing that something had happened within me, I began to confess to anyone and everyone who would listen of the new heart beating in my chest. I had no tangible proof of it because I did not go to a doctor or visit a hospital (not that I have a doctrine against them - the Lord just didn't lead me that way), but I knew that I knew that He had put a new heart into this old wineskin.
Some of the friends I have here introduced me to a person of influence at Assaf Harofeh Hospital, the third largest hospital in Israel, who understands the commitment many believers have toward this Land. We hit it off and he invited me to help them in the areas of web site design and development (this is another incredible story of the Lord's Faithfulness to be told at a later date). He agreed, in return, to help in the upgrade of my visa status to allow me to stay in the Land for an extended length of time.
As a prerequisite to obtaining that upgrade in status, however, the Israeli government requires a physical examination (they, understandably, do not want to be put in a position of liability involving the health of foreigners). I have been made aware since my heart event that, because heart trauma causes tearing in the muscle wall, any physician looking at an x-ray could detect if an event has occurred and the magnitude of it. Obviously, this looked like it might pose a serious challenge to my being approved. But, there are clinics around the country that make a business of granting physicals specifically for visa upgrade that don't even require you to undress. I was anticipating this to be the way the Lord would use to breeze me through the process. However, upon learning of the need of a physical, the people at the hospital would not hear of me going anywhere else and insisted on providing me with the best, most thorough physical examination available right there at the facility and volunteered to absorb the cost. Oh, joy!
What was I to do? I could not refuse the physical (that would be like spitting on a gift) but, if I took it and the Lord had not done what He had led me to believe He had done concerning the condition of my heart, they were sure to see what could only be construed as a bum ticker that would prevent my visa application from being accepted. What was I to do?
He is not known as the Prince of Peace for nothing. The Holy Spirit began bathing me in His Peace that passes all understanding and I knew, I don't know how I knew, but I just knew it would turn out the way He intended. He had supernaturally arranged the circumstances to get me to the Land (yet another story) and, if He wanted me to stay, He would have to arrange the circumstances once again to keep me here - if not, then I needed to be somewhere else. On the way to the exam, I was completely overwhelmed with a physical manifestation of His Peace. I felt Him say to answer any direct question truthfully - don't lie, but to not volunteer any information.
They asked every question you could think of about my health history and that of my family - but, curiously (I don't know if it was just an oversight or what), they did not ask me one question about if I had ever had any heart trouble. They put me through every test imaginable - treadmill, stress test, breath analyzers for lung capacity, eyes, ears, nose and throat, blood work, x-rays, EKG, a full body exam, everything - and nobody said nothing about there being ANYTHING wrong with my heart. Hallelujah! In fact, most of the testers commented on what good (relative) shape I am in and gave me a piece of paper that says so. God put a new heart in me so that even the best doctors can't detect there was ever anything wrong with it - and they gave me the x-rays to prove it! Those x-rays are right now sitting on a shelf in my closet.
40 years ago, I began this walk with the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Shortly thereafter, I became aware of the significance Israel has in the overall scheme of events we see unfolding before us today and fell in love with this Land and this People. The Lord told me then that I would be living in Israel. Of course, being young and full of myself at the time, I thought that would happen in the following couple of months - surely by the following year. Today, 40 years later, I am living in Jerusalem, Israel with a new heart. I stand as a living testament to the Faithfulness of this Wonderful Person we have the privilege of knowing. My friends here laugh at me because, while walking down the streets of Jerusalem, I am constantly running my hands along the stone of the buildings just to be sure I am not dreaming.
God is so good - just so good.