October 12th — My 26th birthday
Yesterday was unlike any birthday I’ve experienced. With the current war raging through Israel, I struggled to find joy as my family did what they could to make this day special. How could I when so many are crying over the loss of their loved ones or out of fear of rockets and terror attacks? As much as we tried to celebrate, the constant news updates brought us back to reality. A heaviness shadowed the day, growing heavier when I learned one of the girls taken by Hamas shared this 26th birthday with me.
War is real and scary; however, we cannot allow it to take over our thoughts. I have found it very hard to focus on anything other than the news this week, but the more I watch, the less joy and peace I feel. What’s happening in Israel is not only a physical war but a spiritual and psychological one as well. Tonight, God reminded me that if we’re not shining our armor or sharpening our swords each day, we will not be well-equipped to fight the battles ahead!
So, this Shabbat, I choose to meditate on Philippians 4:4-9, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus (Yeshua). Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.”
While I will continue to write about what is happening in Israel, I will fight harder to prioritize God throughout the day. More than ever, we need to draw close to our Heavenly Father. If we don’t, we will fall further into despair and fear until it cripples us. I don’t want that to be me. Yes, I am scared, and I don’t know what will come, so it’s a good thing I serve a God who isn’t afraid and does know the end from the beginning!
I hope these late-night thoughts will also encourage you tonight. We weren’t promised easy lives, but God did promise that we wouldn’t have to walk through the valley of the shadow of death alone! He is with us, so we do not need to be afraid or feel like we are carrying this load alone!