The boxes are really starting to pile up around here; it sort of feels like we're living in a giant refrigerator box. I can't believe it's been three years since I was packing up wedding presents in cardboard boxes, counting the days until our big move to Chicago. That seems like just yesterday.
With packing comes the task of pruning, of purging things we no longer use, or like, or want. Every last scrap of the apartment is put through the fire: "Have we ever even used this?" "Are you really ever going to read this book?" "Can we even fix that?"
There is an entire closet full of things that didn't pass the test, and will soon be on their way to new homes (which, if you're interested, I have wine glasses, lamp shades, craft stuff, etc etc etc if you'd like to buy them on the cheap. Sorry, shameless plug.). As I've been shuffling through all the stuff and carrying loads of junk in and out of doors, I happened to catch a glimpse of this:
It's been on the post of our front door ever since we moved in. I always had it in the back of my mind that I would look up exactly what it was, but that's exactly where the idea stayed...in the back of my mind. I decided today to ask my friend, Eric, if he knew what it was. And, being the good Messianic Jew that he is, he told me.
It's a mezuzah. In Jewish homes, the mezuzah is placed on the doorpost as a fulfillment of the Torah's commandment to inscribe the words of the schema "on the doorposts of your house" (Deut. 6:9). The mezuzah is a small case with a piece of parchment inside with the prayer Schima Yisrael written: "Hear, O Israel, the LORD our God, the LORD is one."
Then I started reading about how the mezuzah is placed at an angle, with the top pointing inside the door, signifying that the Lord's presence is entering the household. I looked up what the inscription on our case means in Hebrew: the writing, שדי, is an acronym for Shomer Daltot Yisrael, "Guardian of Israel's doors."
Sorry for the lesson in Jewish traditions, and I'm not trying to say I'm an honorary Jew or anything, but when I read that "Guardian of Israel's doors" has been posted on our door frame for the last year, well, it just...stopped me.
The Lord is guarding our door. Nothing is allowed in or out without His permission. No sickness, no hurt, no blessing, no person comes through the door of our life unless He allows it. Even when I doubt Him, when I am angry with Him, when I do not sense Him near, the Lord is guarding our door. Even though it feels like pain is rushing in like a flood, He is, still, always, guarding our door.
Our year in this apartment has been chaotic, frustrating, scary. I thought I would always remember this place as The Apartment I Called 911 In, or The Place Avram Had Seizures, but I think now I will remember it as The Place The Lord Guarded. Because even before we found this apartment, He knew we would live here, He knew what this year would hold.
He knew, and He guarded.
And He is One: He is the same today as He was yesterday, what He promised to do He will do.
He is One, He is good, and He is guarding our door.