This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says:
“In repentance and rest is your salvation,
in quietness and trust is your strength,
but you would have none of it.” — Isaiah 30:15
This year has been an especially difficult year for Israel. Beginning in the fall and continuing throughout the year in different degrees, knife attacks and shootings by terrorists have been like a dark cloud hanging over the country. They happen everywhere — in the north, east, west, and south of Israel; in quiet neighborhoods and busy cities. The victims are elderly, babies, and every age in-between. It seems that no place and no person is off-limits.
Yet, I am so proud of how this special country has reacted to the wave of terror that threatens to strike at any moment. Life goes on. Period. Cafés are full, people go to work, and children attend school. The Old City of Jerusalem, the target of more than a few such attacks, is still filled with tourists and a site for many celebrations. Our friends around the world, and especially Christian friends who support Israel, still come to visit the Holy Land in droves. Yes, to be certain, there is an undercurrent of terror, but this year also has seen a greater force of faith.
I love this verse from Isaiah where God told His people: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength.” Salvation stems from repentance and tranquil faith. Our strength is in our trust in God. In context, the Israelites being addressed at the time chose not to follow this prescription, “but you would have none of it.”
Instead, they chose to make alliances that only hurt them; all that they placed their trust in turned against them. They were clever and creative in protecting themselves, but they failed to recognize the only true Protector. Had they simply put their trust in God and followed His ways, the outcome would have been very different.
Hopefully we have learned something from thousands of years of history — God has a plan, God is in control, and nothing can stand between Him and His will. No act of terror can thwart the plans of God. No attempts to make us live in fear will stop us from living our lives to the fullest.
No matter what you may be facing, whether it’s the threat of terror or a difficult time at work, an overwhelming task or financial difficulties, let us remember that while we must do what we can to help ourselves, God is our ultimate Savior. Rest easy. God tells us to do that. He doesn’t want us to live our lives stressed out and in fear. Don’t waste your energy on being afraid. Instead, put that energy into faith.
Fear will weaken us and hold us back in life, but our strength is in our faith – don’t ever let it go.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President