“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord; he brought me into a spacious place. The Lord is with me; I will not be afraid” (Psalm 118:5-6)
This past week was filled with many sad and heart-wrenching stories of our fallen soldiers, some of whom are well known to members of my congregation, who served or who are now serving in the IDF. They served with them, talked with them and shared the Gospel with them, praying for their safety as they were about to embark on a mission in Gaza.
One of the stories was about an officer who was one of the last soldiers who was killed in the present fighting. He was killed along with other soldiers in a fire fight with a terrorist unit that emerged from a tunnel. The surviving terrorists withdrew into the tunnel and dragged the body of the officer with them. Another officer, who was in the vicinity of the incident soon realised that the officer was missing. At the risk of his own life, he jumped into the tunnel and began pursuing the terrorists, in an effort to stop them before they could escape with the body of the dead officer. His courage in running 800 meters in a tunnel, which could have been booby-trapped with explosives, enabled the army to know what happened to the missing officer, for whom a funeral was held later that week. If this courageous officer had not pursued the terrorists inside the tunnel, Israel would have been in a completely different situation, not knowing whether the officer was alive or dead, and having to deal with another abducted soldier situation. The details are not all available to the public regarding the circumstances of the officer’s death.
Another story was about a different officer who was also killed in Opertaion “Protective Edge”, and served in the same location as a believer I know. Before entering Gaza, he came to say “good-bye” and thanked the soldier for the long conversations they had about the faith. Not long after that, he was killed in action.
The young soldier had shared the Gospel with this officer, trying to answer the many questions he had over a period of time. He was thirsty for the truth, and found someone who could lead him to it. His death came as a shock to many. Whether this officer acknowledged the truth he heard and took it to heart, only God knows. But the seed was planted, and our fervent prayer is that God made it grow.
Many families who live in the area surrounding Gaza have left their homes for fear of terrorist infiltrations and missile attacks. Some haven’t been to their homes for about a month. Only now some have mustered the courage to return with their children, hoping all will be quiet and secure in their area.
Our soldiers and citizens endure hard and difficult circumstances, causing some to want to flee and be far from the danger.
As the situation in Israel continues to be unclear, not withstanding the current cease fire, with people living in the shadow of rockets and mortar shells, terrorist infiltrations and suicide attacks, until two days ago, I was reminded of the promise given to Jeremiah, when he was surrounded by enemies: “I will make you a wall to this people, a fortified wall of bronze; they will fight against you but will not overcome you, for I am with you to rescue and save you,” declares the LORD” (Jeremiah 15:20). The truth expressed in these words is as true today as it was when it was penned and is as applicable to us as it was to Jeremiah. Though the times are difficult, though we feel pressed, though we cry out to the Lord over friends and comrades who are wounded or have fallen, we are able to recieve and give comfort. Our comfort is in knowing that God is making us a fortified wall and those who stand against us will not be able to overcome us – not because of our strength, but because the Lord our God is with us.
© Hannah Kramer