Friday, January 27, 2006

PL: Morning and Night

The Headline this morning reads: Hamas Election Victory Shocks World”. Me, too! They say. “All politics is local”. (Tip O’Neil wrote a book by that name; was he the first to say it?) There has been a growing dissatisfaction with Fatah, the ruling party. Palestinians’ lives in Gaza and the West Bank have steadily gotten worse. Fatah is seen as corrupt – politicians and government officials getting richer while ordinary people go hungry. There is no rule of law. There is fighting within the party… the list of complaints is long. On the other hand, Hamas has provided services like clinics and kindergartens. They are trusted because they are “religious”. So, I think (is it just hope) that this election is mostly about food and jobs and a normal life. Of course, you’ll see on TV victory celebrations by the hard line supporters of Hamas, but I think that most people were not so much for Hamas as they were fed up with Fatah. I guess time will tell.

As I was reading from Isaiah this morning I was thinking about the election. (I probably wasn’t doing either very well.) A verse jumped out at me. Isaiah 21:12: The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but also the night…”. Wow! Victory in the midst of defeat; hope in despair. I believe that God will ultimately use this situation to bring more Palestinians to faith in Jesus. That is the morning; His light will dawn. But we will have to live through the night and it may get pretty dark. This is a great Romans 8:28 situation. Aren’t we glad we know who holds the future!

I would ask that you pray especially for Palestinian Christians. This is a very fearful time for them. Pray for the Believers who reach out in the name of Jesus to their Muslim neighbors. They could be facing more severe persecution. Pray for Palestinian and non-Palestinian Christian workers. Ask for God’s wisdom and courage… and protection, too.

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

PL:What's wrong with Gaza

I was in Gaza last week - a week before the election. Election posters, billboards, & flags where everywhere. There seemed to be less tension in the air than the last time I was there just before the Muslim feast - Eid El Adha; maybe it was just me. I've ridden with Yousef, the taxi driver, many times so I guess he could tell me things he wouldn't say on the street. He didn't think much of the election... You can't trust them. The politicians will tell you anything to be elected. (Some things don't change wherever you go.) As we were leaving he was pointing out the things that were wrong with Gaza. I just listened. To climax his sermon he said, "The biggest problem is that everybody just does what they want. There is just no order. Nobody follows the law." I have to admit that IS a problem, but it was hard to take his words seriously ... because we were going the wrong way down a one way street. An American friend said once, "There are no traffic laws in Gaza; only traffic suggestions."

Today is the parlimentary election. Pray that men and women of courage and wisdom will be elected who will lead the Palestinian people toward peace.