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While We Wait: A Prayer for Israel

by Todd Hansen on October 19, 2023

Imagine what it must have been like for the disciples to see Jesus on the cross and then dead. All of his promises seem to have vanished with his last breath. All of their hopes for themselves and their nation, expired with the man who should have saved them. In those hours, even the question "why?" would have been swallowed up in the outrage of what the Pharisees and Romans had done. Now what? How can we even go on?

Imagine what it must have been like for the devil and his minions in that hour. They had put all of their resources into this epic battle. Knowing the importance of gaining this victory in this setting at this time in human history, they held nothing back -- and they had won. For a couple of hours, there was a party to end all parties in Hades.

But God...

It's tempting to fall into a measure of despair over what is unfolding in Israel and Gaza. Evil men are destroying their own buildings and killing their own people to gain an apparent "moral" victory on the world stage. People from everywhere have been blinded -- by the enemy -- into believing a lie about what is happening and what it means. From a human perspective, the tide of public opinion seems to be turning against Israel, if the press is to be believed. In this context, a victory on the ground is a defeat in the leftist media. It's agonizing to watch.  It's unsurprising that we would be praying and asking God to fix this; unsurprising that we, even in faith, would accuse God of mismanagement or misunderstanding -- as though he were absent, unaware, or unconcerned.

For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts higher than your thoughts. (Is 55:8-9)

Part of enduring this war is engaging the battle of unbelief in our own souls. Our eyes and ears are telling us one thing, and the God of Psalm 46:2 is telling us another.  Are we going to fear, or trust? Trusting in God is not a cavalier behavior -- it's not being happy while others are dying in agony.  This kind of trust is active and engaged: watchful, prayerful, patient, even while deeply lamenting that this is our world.  

God, thank you that you can be trusted; that you are unfolding history the way you intend; that there is another, better realm for your saints who are dying. You've never not been in control, and you have not left us or forsaken us now. Grant wisdom. Grant peace.

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