Choosing Faith in Fearful Times

Yael Eckstein  |  March 10, 2020

Yael with hand placed on the Western Wall in Israel

Wherever I turn these days, people are talking about the coronavirus that has swept through the world. Essential products to protect against the virus are disappearing from shelves, and travel plans are being canceled. There is a general sense of fear and uncertainty in the air.

Here in Israel, our government has taken stricter preventative measures than most. As a country just the size of New Jersey, we must exercise an abundance of caution. Tens of thousands have been ordered to self-quarantine, large gatherings are not allowed, flights from particular countries have been banned, and travel abroad has been discouraged. We are doing everything possible, from teaching our children to wash their hands frequently to working tirelessly on a vaccine in order to halt the spread of the disease. Israel is at the forefront of medical innovation, and always shares their knowledge with the world for the good of all.

But not only has the Israeli government begun marshalling its resources to help God’s people, we at The Fellowship are on the ground in the Holy Land doing the same. Right now, 30,000 Israelis are quarantined. And right now, the oldest and most impoverished — many of them Holocaust survivors — are the ones at the greatest risk. They may be afraid to leave their homes to go to the grocery store. Supermarkets may already be suffering from shortages. And perhaps, these most vulnerable have already been quarantined and are unable to care for themselves. For those who already receive a Fellowship food card, we will instead be converting this aid to a food box — delivered to their home — so they have enough to eat.  Just know that we are on the ground, helping those who need it most. We recognize that this is an extraordinarily difficult time, so we’re taking extraordinary measures to care for God’s people.

He Will Save You

However, as people of faith, we know that salvation does not come from physical means alone. We know that God is in control and has the world in the palm of His hand. We do our best to ensure our safety and the safety of others, but then we turn to God in prayer. He has protected us from harm many times before and He can shield us now. As we read in Psalm 91, “Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty… Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence.”

This is a time to call on our faith, to let go of fear, and to lead by example. It is a time to pray for protection, for those that are ill, and for an end to this disease. It is a time for kindness towards those who need help coping with this situation and towards anyone who could use some loving care. It is a time to come together – Christians and Jews – in the spirit of faith and unity. Just as we have weathered other storms together, we will get through this one, spreading the light of God in the process.

Our Interconnected World

The coronavirus has demonstrated the undeniable interconnectedness of humanity. What happens on one side of the world has an impact on the other. A disease that broke out in a town in China has caused the stock market in New York to plummet and is the reason why my friends in Israel are quarantined in their home since returning from a vacation in Italy.

As people of faith, we must see the spiritual meaning in current events and use our interconnectivity as a force for good and healing. Our prayers and acts of kindness have a profound effect on the entire world.

In the Jewish tradition, we recite Psalm 91 for protection and Psalms 20, 30, 121, 130, and 142 for healing. But, whatever prayers you choose, I hope that you will join me as we ask our Father in Heaven, the One true Healer, to bring health and healing to all people. Just as you pray for Israel and for protection for her people, we are praying for you too. And I know that as God hears our prayers for each other, He will answer our prayers with healing, protection, and blessings. May it be soon!

With blessings from the Holy Land,

Yael Eckstein's Signature