I was planning to write about another of the pathways of discipleship that we are looking at this month, but there is much more pressing news that is on our hearts right now.
The vicious attack in Israel carried out by Hamas on October 8 resulted in hundreds of deaths, including many children and the elderly. The missile strikes and bombardment that has followed have brought even more deaths in Gaza. We can expect much more bloodshed lies ahead. Although we can hope and pray that diplomacy and good decisions can limit the harm and casualties in this war, this was brought about by a terrorist action on the part of a select group and Israel has the right and obligation to defend its own citizens. There is little room for diplomacy when there is the constant threat of violence and atrocities have just taken place.
I heard today that upwards of 70% of the population living in Gaza does not support or condone the action carried out by Hamas. And yet, they will be the ones who suffer the consequences.
Years ago, I visited Israel. I visited many sites described in the Bible, and I learned firsthand about the struggles that were involved in founding and maintaining the nation of Israel. I saw the soldiers carrying guns in the Old City of Jerusalem and had to pass through checkpoints to visit the Temple Mound, the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem, and Jacob’s Well. I heard the stories and accounts provided by our guide, employed and vetted by the Israeli government, as well as met with Palestinians Christians and Muslims who shared their experience living as second-class citizens.
My prayer is that there will be a way to go through this war and find some sort of lasting peace on the other side. It is hard to imagine what that might look like or how to move in that direction. I pray that God will somehow help these people to find a way when there doesn’t seem to be a way. And I pray for those who have already lost so much.
Grace and peace,