Freedom in the Middle East? – Susan Stilwell

Freedom in the Middle East? One of the first things I do in the morning is to check news headlines. I was out of the country during the month of June and I’m trying to catch up with the latest happenings. Interestingly enough, the latest happenings are happening in the country I visited.

I recently returned from Israel. I traveled with Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) and helped run sports clinics in Bethlehem, Jericho, Ramallah and Jerusalem. This was my fifth trip to the Holy Land but my first stay in the West Bank. It was also my first time to see the conflict from a Palestinian perspective.

It’s hard to understand, especially for Americans. Freedom is a way of life for us. We can travel anywhere we want, any time we want. We can study and pursue any career we choose. If we run out of something, we go to the store and stock up. If something breaks, we replace it.


Some of us remember to conserve resources. We turn off the lights when we leave a room, install water-saving shower heads and buy energy-efficient appliances. When we “go green” it’s because we decide to, not because we have to.

My Middle Eastern friends can’t imagine the freedoms we enjoy in America; particularly my friends in the West Bank. They have a controlled supply of water and electricity. Their travel is restricted and their educational opportunities are limited.

They also can’t imagine the peace we have within our borders. Yes, we Americans bicker and argue over politics and the economy, but we don’t worry about warfare breaking out within 100 miles of our homes. We can’t imagine army tanks rolling through our city streets, and most of us have never been through a traffic stop manned by soldiers carrying AK-47 rifles.

Tensions are high between the Israelis and the Palestinians, but it’s important to remember there are good and not-so-good people on both sides.

Since Psalm 122:6 commands us to pray for the peace of Jerusalem, it’s natural for Christians to side with the Israelis.


But Paul reminded us to pray for something else.

Finally, brothers, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored… (2 Thess 3:1)
Paul reported to the Colossians that, “All over the world this gospel is bearing fruit and growing…” (Colossians 1:6), and I saw that firsthand in Palestine.

Those brothers and sisters in Christ face danger every day, as do the missionaries who serve in Palestine. They may not enjoy the national freedoms we do, but they enjoy spiritual freedom in Christ Jesus.

As the headlines jolt you awake each morning and you pray for the peace of Jerusalem, broaden that prayer to include the spread of the Gospel. And for freed hearts on every side.




Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell makes her home in the Virginia mountains and is a member of Word Weavers Online. This Hokie majored in Computer Science and spends too much time programming her devices. A passionate teacher of God’s Word, she also encourages others to serve in creative ways.
Susan loves wandering in the mountains and dreams about her next trip to Israel. You can connect with her on TwitterFacebook, or

Susan Stilwell

Susan Stilwell consults, writes and speaks on a variety of topics. Her clients appreciate her technical expertise and attention to detail on their websites, projects, and social media strategies. Technical "how-tos" are Susan's favorite articles to write. You can find her working as a blog designer and contributing writer at Fistbump Media. Susan also serves as a hospital chaplain associate and is a voracious scripture memorizer. She's a conference speaker and passionate expositor of God’s Word, and active on Twitter, Facebook, and

More Posts - Website - Twitter - Facebook - LinkedIn - Pinterest - Google Plus - YouTube


  1. Susan, you have hit the nail squarely on the head here. The word “freedom,” like the words “blessing” and “beauty,” create completely different pictures in our heads depending on the perspective from which we view them. Thank you!

    1. I’m so glad you understood my point, Sherry. I think we can better pray for the situation when we have some insight into both perspectives. Thanks for taking time to read and comment!

    1. Thanks, Mary! And thank you for sharing the video. I spent a little (and just a little!) time researching blood moons before I left. I bookmarked the site and will play it while I fold laundry 🙂

  2. Susan, I appreciate you sharing a balanced, biblical perspective on the struggle in the Middle East. Thanks for expressing your heart so succinctly. Peace will only come when people on both sides turn their hearts to the Lord.

    1. Thank you, Karen. The topic this month was Freedom, so naturally this was in the front of my mind. And you’re right — peace can only be achieved through transformed hearts.

Comments are closed.