Azar'el stumbled but caught herself by pushing against a rocky outcrop, her knee catching a jagged edge. Pain shot up her thigh and quickened the already hurried beat of her heart. She paused for a brief second to catch her ragged breath but the feral scent of wolves told her that they were close; she must not give up now.
She rounded the outcrop and there in front of her was her brother Yechezkel, ready with his staff and sling. She reached him just as the pack charged around the rocks. A steady hand and a sure aim left the alpha male retreating in pain, the rest of the pack withdrawing with him. Azar'el and Yechezkel stood side by side, their breaths slowing in unison as they faded from view....
"Hannah? Wake up!"
"Hmm? What?" Hannah attempted to lift her eyelids and answer her husband, "Mark?"
"You were tossing about like you were fighting someone. Look..you're sweating! You okay?"
"Weird. It was one of those dreams where you're watching it and living it at the same time. I think I was a shepherd girl and wolves were after me but a boy, not much older than me, chased it away with a sling."
Mark grinned, shaking his head.
"Laughing at me?"
"No, I'm not but... don't you see? It's all that genealogy stuff you've been doing online. It's messing with your head."
Mark kissed her on the forehead as he got up to leave. "Love you, Gracious and Compassionate woman."
"I'm not telling you what I find if you're just going to make fun of me."
"Sorry Babe, just teasing. I called you that even before you found out the Hebrew meaning of your name"
Hannah rose, got herself together, made breakfast for the kids and sent them off with the usual morning prayer, love and hugs.
After finishing an article for her column she clicked onto the web and found her favorite ancestry website. A little thrill coursed through her as she anticipated what new treasures she would find. She clicked through the connections she'd already made, reviewing the information and inserting notes from other sites she'd found. Little symbols popped up when something she entered connected with information already in the database.
Azar'el bat Yehoshua and Yechezkel bar Yehoshua popped up in a little window.
"Azar'el and Yechezkel, son and daughter of Yehoshua?"
Hannah didn't know Hebrew very well but a faint memory from her dream made these names seem familiar.
She typed them into the Jewish Surname database and found their meaning. Azar'el: God Has Helped, Yechezkel: God Strengthens and Yehoshua: God Saves.
Hannah pushed away from the computer screen and walked to the window overlooking their backyard. Lost in thought, her mind meandered back to the nameless woman who prompted her to start the research.
"You must complete the journey. You have found your Messiah, your Tree of Life, now find your root and hear what God is saying to you for such a time as this."
It was a crowded farmer's market and the woman stood beside her looking at pomegranates. It was only later that Hannah realized that she'd failed to ask her name. She'd tossed it off at the time as the wandering mind of an old woman, but the clarity of her eyes and the sureness of her steady voice stayed with Hannah until she decided to take a chance and see what there was to find.
"I'm German...and I'm Jewish?"
Her Hebrew ancestors immigrated to Germany and seventeen hundred years later to America, each time desperate for freedom from persecution, eventually leaving their faith and marrying Gentiles. The persecutors and the persecuted in the same bloodline.
Not knowing what to make of it she retreated to her favorite corner chair and sank into its softness. Taking out her Bible, she opened today's reading:
...the world was not worthy of them. They wandered in deserts and mountains, and in caves and holes in the ground. These were all commended for their faith, yet none of them received what had been promised. God had planned something better for us so that only together with us would they be made perfect.
Stunned, Hannah bowed her head, the tears dripping down her chin onto her chest. Trembling, she spoke to the Lord like a child at her Father's knee,
"You've made this known for such a time as this, Jesus. Give me strength for the days ahead."
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