My husband Brad and I were so blessed to be a part of a twelve-member group tour to Israel. We walked where Jesus walked, had our feet covered in gritty sand, and realized why a “foot washing” would be very refreshing and practical. Our modern sandals complete with Velcro attachments took us to many tels.
Tels? You might ask. What’s a tel? A tel is a site where civilization after civilization have built their city in the exact same location. Because the city is located near water or is in a good spot for trade, rather than creating a new location, a group of people conquer the people who are currently living there and build in the same spot. To a tourist’s first glance, these tels just look like piles of rubble, but when one pays close attention to what archeologists have unearthed, one can discover who has lived there and at what time period.
Our intellectual and seasoned tour guide would lead us down further and further into the ground, and with each level down, the further back in history we went. We were shown colorful tiles from bath houses, walls of temples, and chiseled pottery that women had carried all from various people groups who were a mere blip on the radar screen of history.
Thousands of years, thousands of people, and our God has seen it all. He was there as some worshiped Him, and He was there as some sacrificed animals and children to their pagan gods. Our God—the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob—witnessed it all. He was there, He is here, and He is already standing in the future. The great I AM is never surprised or caught off guard. His heart breaks over sin while His heart loves His people. Our all-knowing Abba is the same yesterday, today, and forever.
It is such a mind-boggling concept to grasp that the One who has seen it all and is all-knowing still cares about us and all the details of our lives. He even has our hairs numbered. Although our finite time on earth cannot span the thousands of years that a tel does, the Lord has been building and overseeing the tels of our lives. Hasn’t He? Throughout our time on the planet and even our time in the womb, He has known us and loved us.
When I take a look back at my personal tel, I still remember at five years old asking Him to be my Lord and Savior and then the time at nine when I was lost in the grocery store and cried out to Him before I was reunited with my panicked, searching mother. Then there was the level of my tel where He was there as I watched my firstborn go to the neonatal ICU unit and then the elation of finally being able to bring her home. He was with me through my husband’s unemployment season, our daughter’s unplanned high school pregnancy, and now the constant celebration of being grandparents.
We all have a personal tel, don’t we? Layer upon layers of His sovereignty and faithfulness. None of us know what the next layer will bring, but we are assured in His word that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Now let’s get out there and tell the world that HE is the answer to their tel.