Dear Friend of Israel,
The other day I was in Tiberias, a beautiful Israeli city on the western shores of the Sea of Galilee. While there are certainly times when the Sea of Galilee is stormy and unsettled – you may remember the story in the Christian Bible of Jesus calming its waters during a violent storm – on this day it was placid, peaceful, and calm.
It was a beautiful scene. But I could not help but think of the people of Texas, and there are many Fellowship friends among them, who are suffering so greatly from the massive floods caused by Hurricane Harvey. Rising waters have caused death and untold devastation in the state, particularly in the city of Houston. There, at this moment, there is anything but peace.
To these suffering people, I want to say that all of us at The Fellowship are praying for your safety. We’re praying that God would watch over each and every one of you. We’re praying that families will be able to stay together and recover as many of their possessions as possible, and that jobs will be restored after the waters recede.
And all of us should take a moment to remember God’s promises. The psalmist spoke of those who “cried out to the Lord in their trouble, and he brought them out of their distress. He stilled the storm to a whisper; the waves of the sea were hushed” (Psalm 107:28-29). This reminds us that God is with us not just when things are going well and the wind is at our back. Life is full of struggle and sorrow, and God is with us even during difficult times, delivering us from our distress, standing by us through the storm, calming the waves that threaten to overwhelm us.
Friends, please join me today in praying for the victims of this terrible storm. Say a prayer of thanks for all the first responders who are maintaining order and working tirelessly to save and protect as many people as possible, as well as for the ordinary citizens who are risking all to help those in need. May these beautiful examples of caring inspire us to act, and in so doing overshadow this dark time with the light of God’s provision and peace.
With prayers for shalom, peace,
Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein
Founder and President