The fires are out now – mostly. A few embers still glow threatening to ignite again, causing the need for some, to stand guard. The smoke has blown out to the Mediterranean and gone wherever smoke goes. Sirens have quit screaming and quiet has settled in. Silence, actually. The silence of loss. The silence of devastation. Those who lost their loved ones in the tremendous fires of northern Israel that burned out of control last week now struggle to find their direction. Devastation. Shock. Silence. It doesn’t end. The hurt remains and will linger for years to come. Forty two families are without their loved one now, gone to a tragic but heroic end, but still gone.
Then there is the loss of property. We could be very cavalier and say, “It’s just wood, hay and stubble and it can be replaced.” and that’s true, it can be – most of it. But when an entire village burns due to carelessness. When your home and all that is in it is lost due to someone else’s mistake. When you had no warning and you didn’t get out with anything more than the clothes on your backs – the loss is devastating. The ashes remain and they will sift through them looking for any glimpse of what was, but its gone – everything is gone – the pictures, the memories, the special gifts that loved ones gave you through the years. Gone.
Rebuilding is not impossible. Rebuilding is costly. Rebuilding is time consuming and it takes a lot of determination under the most normal of conditions. But there is never anything normal about building in Israel and right now, due to world pressure, Israel is under a building freeze. Will these people even be allowed to rebuild? Will they be forced to pitch tents on top of the ashes of the homes that were once theirs? Will there be help from the world community — to Israel — rebuild homes or will this be a moment of satisfied finger pointing by the world? Hopefully, man’s humanity will kick in and compassion will help Israelis rebuild the wood, hay and stubble of their homes that have been lost.
As I write this, I wonder how can we, who live so far away, be of assistance? How can we help those who’ve lost so much? We can pray and I am sure many of us are doing just that. In our prayers, let us ask our Heavenly Father to send comfort to those who are suffering and to send rain to the land so parched by drought and now by fire. I don’t know if Israel has any groups that help in situations like this – like our Red Cross, our Salvation Army and our Baptist and Mennonite groups in this country that go in and help clean up and rebuild following a disaster. If there aren’t such groups in Israel at this time, then surely someone will start one quickly. Even so, money will be an issue and it would be good for us to send money if we can.
In our prayers, let us join together and ask our Heavenly Father for a release for Israel from the building freeze(s) put on her by the world community. Let us ask Him for a release from so-called Piece Talks at a time when Israel is hurting so desperately. And, let us ask Him to help Israel use this tremendous loss to show her how better to be prepared for the disasters from the north that are yet to come.