The Palestinian leader named Cabul was targeted by the Israeli army early on. They saw how someone with his Charisma and conviction could win back the rights of the displaced Palestinians by his poetic speeches alone.
He spoke publicly in the streets of Jerusalem, outside the city hall. He met with leaders as they came and went. They gave him the time of day because they saw his social clout and the respect all parties had for him. Some hated him for what he stood for, but all respected his meek, peaceful methods and deep wisdom. He would set up in front of the courthouse and spend hours talking to whoever, from buskers to politicians. Then he started getting pulled into committees and speaking engagements which took him away from his post. He was only one man. Soon enough there were lines and lists and it was very hard to talk to him.
But there was a buzz about the city. This man was different, so full of hope that there could be peace. But all knew there was an age-old opposition, and it would be a strong against him.
Jericho, a teenage Palestinian pondering his future in politics waited in line to see Cabul each day. But he never made it to the front. He longed to bring change, and save lives that he saw were being lost or ruined around him. However, his father was pressuring him to work in his shoe repair shop. He needed direction from someone he admired. On the day Jericho finally made it within three spots away from talking to Cabul, Cabul was pulled into the courthouse to be tried, himself.
They had brought what appeared to be false charges against him. Disturbance of the peace. They tried to say he touched someone inappropriately. Obstruction of justice because of the crowds he gathered in front of the courthouse. Either way, they tried him with tricky lawyers, and got him put into jail.
It was a cold and hopeless day in the week leading up to Christmas. The news of his conviction seemed to dampen the hearts of most of the city. Hope seemed to be lost again.
Jericho would not be able to get even a few minutes with Cabul now. But of course he wanted far more. He longed to be mentored by him.
He followed the story like a moth to a light. One of the articles linked to a Facebook page of people that wanted to help Cabul. But a moment after Jericho was accepted into the group, he stopped and swallowed. He saw that one of the members was Cabul himself. Could he just message him? Of course he couldn't respond from jail, right?
Jericho was alone in his room, after his family had gone to sleep, when he summoned enough courage to message the one who claimed to be Cabul. "Hi Cabul. My name is Jericho. What they did was not right. I am truly sorry you are in jail."
A few seconds later he got a response back. "I'm not sorry."
Jericho was suddenly skeptical. Was this a mocker or troll impersonating him? But then a new message from Cabul popped up. "Now I can talk to all of you much more quickly. We have figured out a way that the law allows me to have a laptop in jail. Jericho, tell me about yourself, brother. I see you are from Palestine and are into politics."
As the midnight hour passed, and Christmas began, Jericho talked to Cabul. His heart was filled with excitement. For one had come who was wise and powerful, and Jericho could talk to him whenever he wanted. Cabul seemed to be everything Jericho hoped he was, and more.
And this was a start to a long and fruitful relationship which guided Jericho for many years to come. It turned out that Cabul was indeed able to communicate with far more people, far more often from Jail. He helped his correspondents become healthy and have influence over the city, bringing far more peace and justice than the city had known for a generation. Sometimes he answered the needs and requests of Jericho and others, by asking his other followers to meet the needs of his other followers. Sometimes he communicated in ways that were not direct but took some listening and thinking. The authorities might object if Cabul actually made certain things happen, but often he made events line up, passports expedited, scholarships granted, so people would recognize his hand in it and walk in the direction he offered to them.
And then many years later, Cabul would be released and by then the difference he had made in so many lives and systems would place him in a position to replace the whole regime with a far better kingdom.
Jeremiah proclaims that God made us a new covenant and it came on Christmas. When Jesus was born he set in motion a new a more personal interaction with God. We could know God personally. But he was just one person at one time in history. So after he died and rose to heaven he sent his spirit which then allowed all of us to know him, and for him to be present with us at all times. And that spirit is training us to be the type of people that would follow him well when he comes back to set all things right again some day.
Knowing that the spirit is as real as Jesus was, how might he be having an effect on your life? What words is he saying to you. What ways might he be nudging you. Lean into those. Chat with him and listen.