“God is our refuge and strength, an ever present help in trouble. Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.” (Psalm 46:1-3)
I sat and watched as the news broadcasted some of the funerals of soldiers who were killed during operation “Protective Edge”. There was one funeral in particular which shocked me and I’m still having difficulty comprehending it. The fallen soldier’s mother recorded her last conversation with him, before he went into Gaza. He told her that the soldiers were ordered to write a note to their family – just in case. Just in case they didn’t make it out alive. Just in case they didn’t have another chance to tell their family how much they love them, how much they are thankful for them. Just in case they didn’t get a chance to tell them how they felt about going in, maybe one last time.
The mother played the recording of the conversation just before her son’s body was lowered into the ground. Her son’s voice could be heard explaining where he wrote that note and where to look for it – just in case. She then read the note, where the soldier expressed his love and gratitude to his family, his parents and siblings. He went on to say how happy he was and that he fought well. He also said, that if they are reading that, it meant that his career was finished.
The very thought of a soldier having to write a letter like that makes me shudder. I didn’t know that our soldiers were given that order. Young people, some as young as 19, have to stare death in the face, have to write farewell letters to their loved ones – just in case. Many probably believed that those will be their last words.
At the time of this post, 33 soldiers have been killed during the week that our soldiers entered Gaza during Operation “Protective Edge”. Thirty-three men who were fathers, husbands, sons, brothers and friends. Hearts all over Israel ache over their loss, over their sacrifices and service to their country.
The situation here in Israel is hard. As the missiles continue, our soldiers continue to fight, so that I would have the freedom to write this post safely. All who read this are being asked to pray. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, pray for our soldiers now in Gaza and in its outlying areas. Pray for wisdom for the government to know what to do and to have the courage to do what is necessary. Pray that those who fight against Israel will know there is a God in Israel Who is fighting for her. Pray for the people in Gaza who suffer from Hamas, for the believers there who are amidst a leadership who seeks their death. Pray for Hamas that there would be repentance there and their love of darkness would be replaced with a love of light and life. Pray for the families of the fallen soldiers, that God would comfort them as only He can.
To the believing soldiers, I say: don’t give up. You serve as a soldier in two armies – the Israeli army and God’s army, which is even stronger and more powerful. Your commander knows your needs and cares for you. Continue to be a light where you are. Share the Good News of God’s love, mercy, forgiveness and everlasting life with your comrades in arms. It may be the only opportunity that they might have to hear the message. Some of you haven’t been home for a long time, more than you are used to. Your work cannot stop until it is finished. We know that you are tired, but He can renew your strength. We know that you grieve over friends who were killed and wounded. He is able to restore your soul and your joy. Trust in the Lord and lean on Him. He is with you in all your service and will see you through.
© Hannah Kramer