Andy and Natasha
Men and women serve in Israeli military service. The strong presence of security in Israel doesn’t create tension for tourists … it eases them!

People constantly ask me about conflict in the Middle East, especially conflict in Israel. As I write these words, yet another flare-up of violence in Israel is making headlines across the world. If your only perspective of Israel was from the 60-second clips from your favorite news source, it would not be surprising if you assumed the land was little more than an active war zone!

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Right this minute, even as CNN replays the latest rock-throwing, missile-launching, or explosive attack, 9 million residents of the land are going to work, to school, to the grocery store and to places of worship. Some have made plans to drop by the hardware store later today to pick up a part for that stubborn, leaky toilet. Others have taken the time to exercise. Many have tended a garden.

Isn’t that the way we live, here in America? We go about our daily lives despite the latest news of yet another round of horrible violence in our own country. I once encouraged friend of mine to move his family from Israel to America. His eyes widened immediately as he thought of his two young children and all the news he’d seen from news sources inside the USA. “Oh no!” he exclaimed. “I could never move there! It is far too dangerous!”

I laughed at his perception of America the same way he once laughed at my perception of Israel.

Only the worst news lands on television. The good stuff? It’s left for us to discover.

Travel across America and you’ll find beauty and friendship. Travel across Israel and you’ll find the same.

There will always be conflict and violence, no matter where you live. Every trip you take has an element of danger to it. That includes trips you might take to a distant country … or to your neighborhood grocery store.

Are you aware of this truth? If you constantly live in fear, you will never actually live. Maybe that’s why there are so many instructions in the Bible from God, to us, to “Fear … not!”

Be strong. Be of good courage! Later on today, go about your business as if you’re intent on actually living. Do that whether you’re one mile from home, or 10,000 miles away. Life is too short to live in fear!

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