I’ve been ignoring the elephant in the room. However, it is threatening a rampage, and no one seems to be in control of the situation, especially the powers that be. It is hard to still a raging elephant when in truth, you can’t see or hear him. But trust me, the elephant is in the room.

If you haven’t guessed by now, I’m talking about the horrors of the war raging along Israel’s northern and southern borders, and a good number of kilometers inland – as well as some areas of the coastal region. It is strange knowing we are at war, and reading the news reports. Quite honestly, here in Haifa, we don’t feel it like in the rest of the country. Here, our complaints are rather mundane ­– the prices inching hire, shekel by shekel, day by day. The healthcare systems and clinics becoming increasingly stressed as they have to care for almost double the population, displaced from their homes in the war zones, oh, and don’t forget the traffic jams when another funeral is held for yet another soldier.

Media reigns in keeping our eyes on the elephant

The media is relentless, inundating us with yet another story of someone who died on October 7, yet another unsubtle report about the government’s failures, and another story about a hostage who has been confirmed as dead.

The language of battle is carefully nuanced:

“The 162nd Division operating in the Rafah area eliminated terrorists and destroyed tunnel shafts.” …

“A red alert siren was heard in …”

“… the Air Force attacked two Hezbollah military buildings in southern Lebanon in which terrorists were hiding. Four terrorists were reported killed.”

“The Supreme Court ruled that no legal framework exists to distinguish between yeshiva students and other individuals designated for military service. …”

“Fuel prices will rise tonight at midnight.”

“The names of two [or one or six or four] fighters who fell in battle in Gaza were released for publication…”

“The Prime Minister announced that he has decided to …”

Quotes taken from the “Tamzitz Hachadashot” What’sApp news reports.

“There is no healing for you”

Writing this, my thoughts are drawn to the message God gave to Jeremiah:

11       Go up to Gilead and get balm, Virgin Daughter Egypt!
             You have multiplied remedies in vain;
there is no healing for you.

12        The nations have heard of your dishonor, and your outcry fills the earth,
because warrior stumbles against warrior
and together both of them have fallen.

Jeremiah 46:11–12

And none of the above even touches the horrors faced by the people of Gaza, threatened by their own people – Hamas, as well as the Israeli armed forces. While all may not be innocent, all are not guilty. Few stories are getting out about the bottom members of the proverbial totem pole, the believers in Jesus who live in Gaza. Some have managed to escape into Egypt, which is treating them as unwelcome guests with no benefits, no rights, and no help. Without God taking up their cause, their lot would be hopeless. Yet stories of hope, and answered prayer do trickle out. Maybe its harder to be Lebanese, where Hezbollah is part of the entrenched political system.

I’m tired

The answer you will get to a simple question is the same regardless of who you ask.

“How are you,” I ask a friend, colleague, or caregiver during one of my multiple medical visits.

“Tired,” he or she replies, and then a wry grin and always the side comment, “but who isn’t these days?”

I wake up tired, and I go to bed tired. As I write this post, I am exhausted, and yet, I must write. Sometimes I wonder for whom, but deep down, I know.

This war is bigger than Israel and the Middle East – it is a worldwide heaviness of spirit seeking to drown out all hope for the utopia our parents hoped to give us. We all have our struggles – and let’s be honest – when we are in need, other’s needs don’t seem very important. But they are.

Times like this I’m thankful – There IS a God

Times like this, I’m so thankful that I can get up, open my Bible, and read, and find hope in the wonder of my wonderful Savior. Times like this, I am thankful for the Psalms of Lament, which give me permission to cry out to the Lord and join the multitudes in longing for His righteous eternal reign. But times like this, I am even more thankful for His patience beyond comprehension and that He is not pleased to see anyone lost for eternity.

The love of God leaves me in awe and hopeful expectation.

The pain God bears because of sin teaches me to join in His lament and place my hope in Him.

Both give me peace in this all too real war we are living in.

So, I will close this post with two poems the Lord gave to me, I believe to encourage both myself and others.

Whatever your battle, it is real. May you be refreshed with the wonder of our God, even as you weep over the struggles and battles that you and others are facing.

June 8, 2024 (morning)

Eternal Day

The wonder of You –
Abiding with one
               Abiding with all
in an eternal realm
intersecting every now.

Transcendent radiance of glory
where symbols
               are the reality
and the reality,
               more than all the symbols.

Where all those things that are not –
               become part of infinity.
Those things that are –
               Fade away
undone by the glory
               the wonder
                              the beauty
of You.

Where You
               who cannot be contained
                              eternally dwell
                                             with Your people
                                                            in Your people.
An eternal joy in discovery.

The unimaginable depths of You
in an intimate dance
               with one
                              with all
                                             in one
                                                            in all.
Eternal Mystery
               Eternal Joy
                              Eternal Day.

June 16, 2024 (written after learning of the death of 8 soldiers who burned to death in a tank explosion)

The Tension Between Now and Not Yet (A Lament)

                in a game of
                push me – pull you

The rope snaps in two
the mocking of an enemy
                like boiling oil
on a thirsty land
                polluting the crops.
A Vesuvias, mummifying hope.

                How long Lord
will excavators of history
                dig up our remains
                wondering to what we clung
                unsurprised by our despair?

Tyranny of petty desires
                drown our desperate need.
We cry for rescue
                from an enemy
who is us.

While You weep from the mountainside
                seeing all as it could be, should be
                but we

How long Lord
                before the not yet
                                is realized?
How long
                before hope becomes
                                eternal reality?

How long
                before our hardened hearts
                                                to agape,
surrendering pride and paltry lusts
                to the wonder
                                of You?