Contending with Hope

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by Moran Rosenblit
May 2024

On the morning of Monday, May 6th, 2024, I was standing in my living room. At about 9:50am, I could not see anything outside the windows as a big storm was passing through. About 9 minutes later, the rain stopped, and then at 10:00 AM, a siren marking Yom HaShoah began to blare. This two-minute siren commemorates the six million Jewish people that were brutally murdered by the Nazis. As the siren continued, I looked outside my window and noticed that the storm quickly cleared -the skies were clear blue, I could hear birds singing, and I thought about my people, the Jewish people. It was a picture of hope for me that as we, the Jewish people, go through various storms, there is a bright future for us as a people. While we cannot see beyond the dark clouds and rain during the storm, when it passes, everything becomes clear, and we will be able to hear the birds singing once again.

For us Israelis living in the land of Israel, we have been living in an intense storm these past seven months. As I told a good friend who asked me how it feels in Israel right now, this war feels like living through a constant hurricane, only that we do not know if it will be level 1 or level 5 on any given day. It feels like we are waiting for the strongest storm to hit at any moment.

If I am being honest, we are tired. No, tired isn’t the right word. We are exhausted. The toll that this war has taken on us from day one is nothing I could have imagined. The horrific reality that we woke up to, the endless pain that many of us are experiencing, as well as the unresolved trauma that many Israelis carry that “woke up” from this war is enough to make us wonder if we will ever see clear blue skies again? Will we ever be able to hear and enjoy the birds sing again?

Contrary to what is reported in today’s news and the growing anti-Israel sentiment in the West, we, the Israeli people, value life and honor our dead. It is for that reason that it is so vital for us to bring our hostages home, both those who are still alive and those who were murdered by Hamas terrorists and its allies. It is also for this reason that we don’t just “wipe out” Gaza and the Palestinian people, and that we warn civilians to evacuate areas before Israel conducts military operations. It is also the reason we make great efforts to transfer humanitarian aid even to our enemies.

On Sunday, May 12th, at 20:00 (8:00 PM), another siren will blast throughout Israel marking the beginning of Yom Hazikaron, Israel’s Memorial Day for soldiers killed in action as well as the victims of terror. For many families here in Israel, this is one of the hardest days of the year as we collectively mourn the loss of our loved ones.

Israeli flags will fly at half-mast; all restaurants and entertainment shut down, and on TV there will be the stories of the many Israelis who lost their lives as a result of war or terror. This is the heavy price that we pay in order to live in the Land of Promise.

For me personally, it has always been a hard day, as I have lost many friends during and after my service in the IDF (Israeli Defense Force). Every year, my family joins the family of one of my friends who was killed in a horrific terror attack on January 22, 1995, during the time of my military service. This year, however, will be very different, as the pain has become deeply personal since my nephew, Gilad, was killed in the current war.

I could always relate to the pain of losing close friends, but it hits differently when the loss is a family member. It is difficult to describe this kind of pain and I do not wish it on anyone else. However, with the ongoing war here in Israel, the reality is that almost every day, more and more families are joining this circle of grief.

We the people of Israel are hurting, and we are grieving. It is because we value and sanctify life that the pain runs so deep. We are in the midst of a horrible storm and our world has been violently turned upside down. However, we are not going anywhere! One day, this storm will be over; one day, the skies will be blue again and we will be able to hear the birds sing. I hold on to the beautiful words written by the prophet Isaiah, where God promises restoration to Israel:

I will also rejoice in Jerusalem and be glad in My people; and there will no longer be heard in her the voice of weeping and the sound of crying.
Isaiah 65:19

It is my faith in the living God that gives me the strength daily to press on and persevere during the storm. I choose to stand today on God’s promises, not only for the physical restoration of Israel, but also for the coming spiritual restoration of our beloved people back to God. I hold on to the hope that when our Messiah will return, the sound of weeping and crying will be replaced with the sound of singing, dancing, and rejoicing. Until that day, I hold on to God’s promises, and choose to be thankful for the small, precious things in life.

I opened with a story that brought me hope, and would like to end with one. My son received a beautiful orchid from his previous job one year ago. He loved this flower and was careful to water it regularly and care for it. When we moved apartments a few months after he received it, the orchid was unintentionally wrapped in shrink wrap, and put in a box without us knowing. The movers thought it was a fake plant because it was so beautiful! Needless to say, when we unpacked the box a few days later, we were devastated to find the orchid there. Its delicate flowers had fallen off and we were sure it was dead.

But my son refused to give up on it. For the past 10 months, he continued to faithfully water the green leaves at the base of the plant once a week. To our surprise, this past week, a small shoot sprung up with tiny buds. Then, slowly but surely, one bud opened into a beautiful white flower. Then another, and another. There are still a couple more buds that are waiting to open, and we are all more excited about this than I ever thought we could be!

I realized the powerful metaphor that this orchid is for the Jewish people and the State of Israel. For me, this orchid reminds me of God’s faithfulness to keep the Jewish people alive, against all reasonable hope throughout the millennia. After so many attempts to annihilate the Jewish people, we are still here, and we are back in the land that God promised us. He will keep us alive for His purpose because He is true to His promises. I am so grateful for the small but powerful reminders that we can contend with hope, even when it seems foolish to do so.

Moran

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7 Comments on “Contending with Hope”

  1. Moran, thank you for this post. We cannot begin to understand what you are going through in Israel, but it reminds us that our hope is anchored in God alone. Thank you for your daily updates on the truth of what is transpiring in your country, we continue to hold you up in prayer-we love you!

  2. Thank you Moran! We love to hear from you. We have our Israeli flags up in our yard and praying daily for Israel. Your story of the orchid was very meaningful and appreciated the analogy. We too have orchids and this year 4 of the 5 plants were blooming at one time but blooms have died off. But just as Jesus promised His return, the blooms will come again and we will be reminded of His faithfulness. We will think of our orchids a little differently from now on. Our love to all. Bob & Gail

  3. We love you and stand with you as we await the promise of the restoration of all things. ♥️ May He supply your every need and give you guidance, wisdom, strength and comfort.

  4. Thank you for writing this. What’s great reminder that no matter the storm, God’s Chosen people are in the land He means for them to be. He will bring good from this evil. Praying for all of you.

  5. Thank you for this heart-felt message from a more personal angle. I can only imagine the continual tension you, our Israeli friends, live under every day. I do feel a level of tension, thousands of miles away, but I know it’s different from actually being on the ground in Israel, where the reality of evacuated families, sirens, rockets, etc., and especially the loss of family members, are the daily and unavoidable experience.

    Israel is on my heart and in my prayers.

  6. Thank you for sharing this, Moran. It’s full. Praying for as you stay steadfastly filled with Hope in Him, and strengthened by His faithfulness.
    “We give thanks to God always for all of you, constantly mentioning you in our prayers, remembering before our God and Father your work of faith and labor of love and steadfastness of hope in our Lord Jesus Christ.”
    ‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭1‬:‭2‬-‭3‬ ‭Shalom

  7. Yes Moran, thank you for sharing your heart and for all that hope4israel does year round. Standing with you in hope, kneeling with you in prayer, crying out for peace in Israel. Best.

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