“Hi” and welcome to Inside Israel! Today we have an older letter from J of Jerusalem, a Jewish believer/friend who made aliyah 16 years ago, moving to Israel from the US. Thank you for your prayers for J and for Israel. Now here’s J . . .
How do they do it…and every time!
I’m referring to the incredibly dramatic, and yet ‘natural’ change, from the heaviness of mourning to the joy of wonder. I may have to use the rest of my years trying to translate into words what occurs here in the moments between ‘yom h’zicharon’ (memorial day [for soldiers and victims of terror]) to yom h’atzmaoot (independence day). How can a nation make a transfer from, what is, effective mourning to corporate rejoicing in a matter of 7 trumpet blasts in less then half a minute? But this is what I have just witnessed again…and it represents a true picture of the history of Israel. But why should I be so surprised that there can be ‘beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning’? After all…Israel IS His idea and plan and He is reflected over and over in her, revealing His nature.
First , let me back up a bit.
Liora Deko. I met her when I began working at the doctor’s office 13 years ago. She was a bit younger then I was and was one of the few sabra (native born Israeli) patients who also spoke English. She was very warm and friendly, and so desired to be helpful in our aliyah and absorption problems…she was deeply compassionate! Her daughters were in the army and I told her that I would pray for them. One day she came in all excited. Her daughters were finally out of the army and were now ‘going to travel’…one to South America and one to India. (this is a sort of ‘rite of passage. Most young Israelis travel ‘outside’ following their army service). I shuddered at the thought of a young daughter traveling around like that, but she was thrilled. ‘I am so happy for my daughters having a chance to see some of the world…not like me. I never got to travel ‘outside’ and I was never a young person.’ She confided. She went on ‘I was so young when I had to go to war. I was just a kid. Before that, while I was still in grade school, Arabs killed one of my girlfriends. We kids were part of the search for her. We found her body…life was so hard…I never really was young.’ I stood up (yes, I can be very emotional, and my emotions moved me, but this time it was for the good.) and weeping, I began to thank her…to thank her for being here and for standing and for fighting for this country when I was having an ‘easy life’ in the ‘old country’, going to parties, and doing whatever I felt like. It was her turn to cry: ‘No no! It is I who am in awe of you olim (immigrants) giving up everything and coming here…for what?? You are the ones who have it so hard. And why do you come? What is here? War and stress and difficulties.’ I told her (please note, we were both crying by now and I was still in the doctor’s office! Must have been quite a sight!) ‘We MUST come and stand where those of you are weary! This is bigger then us…it is from God. I am amazed at the heart of the people here…and the promise that is being fulfilled before our eyes!’ She looked at me full of surprise and her weariness was raw ‘We USED to be a people of a great and deep heart, but no more…we are dry and there is no hope!’ I came back ‘Liora, you are wrong! The Heart IS still here and there IS still Hope and maybe that is why we come this way…like new fresh troops to relieve the weary ones!’ That conversation sealed our friendship. We were both blubbering like babies, strengthening one another. We kissed and hugged.
Time passed and we both became Grandmothers. We shared our joys and grief’s. And I prayed for her…and asked The Lord ‘Please open a door for me to share with her!’
The years went on. The door didn’t open.
Recently a biopsy report crossed my desk; her husbands. He was diagnosed with acute inoperable pancreatic cancer…the worst kind. I prayed more.
Memorial day began with a minute of standing in silence at 8 last night and the mantle of grief again draped it’s black shawl over the nation as those who lost loved ones (nearly everyone) opened their hearts to share their grief so that we could carry it together as one, and strengthen those who will never escape their loss. Today, at 11am there was a 2 minute siren bringing the nation to a total standstill and marking the beginning of countless ceremonies around the country.
Liora came into the office at 10:45.
I had been praying for her just yesterday. One look at her told me that it was bad. She wept. Her husband was not cooperating with the doctors…would take no more treatments…had given up (he is 61) and on top of that he was being very mean to her. I held her as we talked. A song was playing on the radio and she said ‘Listen! This song tells our nation’s whole history! This song is my story…and yours.’ Momentarily, it was time for the siren, so we went outside. As the siren began to wail we stood still side by side, hand in hand…a sabra and an olah…and I lifted my heart in prayer, thanking The Lord for such a moment and begging Him to open a door of effectual witness! To open her heart to Yeshua…to the Gospel…to salvation! Lord, give me anointed words! Give me Your power to pray for the healing of her husband. Do not let me open my mouth until You fill it with The Words of Life and open her heart to receive them!
Perhaps you would put Liora Deko and her family on your prayer list? I do feel anticipation, that The Lord, Who brought about a moment where I could hold hands with this woman in silence and be praying for her, that He intends to answer. I am sure that you expected this to be a story about how I led her to Yeshua…but it is still a story in progress. Please be part of it.
And, as I have experienced for 16 years now, just as the weight of the day seems to be more then one can bare, people begin gravitating back to central places around town, or their television sets at home or on the street…preparing for the events of 8pm. The main ceremony begins with the soldiers coming forward. The minor notes are played on the trumpet as the flag is approached…and then a major note…and another as the flag is raised from half mast to full mast. The subtle change in the music reminds me of the slow lifting of a curtain to allow light to come in…and light begins to do just that…to come in.
And SOMEHOW…inexplicably…by 9 pm the country is dancing! The emptiness of loss is filled with the wonder of the creation of the state in a moment. Isaiah 35 was read aloud and engraved in lights in the night (pretty heart amazing really!) and song filled the air. We were exhorted to THANKFULNESS and to move ahead as one with moral humility and gentleness.
HOW I WISH THAT YOU WERE ALL HERE TO EXPERIENCE THESE THINGS! It is with awe that I report them to you…a small witness of God’s faithfulness to His Word and His Ways. EVERY promise of His WILL come to pass!
Before I close, I need to ask you to forgive me. Some of you were offended by my last letter and I pray that you will forgive me for that offense. Please understand that I am NOT a ‘teacher’ nor a ‘prophet’ but that I share what I see or what is in my heart and I do NOT claim it to be ‘Thus saith The Lord’. I tried to express my own deep concern that my responses, as a disciple of Yeshua, be circumspect as the events of the day become more and more intense and dramatic. I did not intend to bring condemnation upon anyone or to judge anyone else’s feelings. I am no authority…I am just a sheep… His sheep, like you.
God bless each of you. Lovingly, your sis