Joel of Jerusalem Jun/Sep 1969

Dear Brother Victor—Shalom!

I am in uniform again in a mountainous region, where the winds blow fiercely. Down below one can see the place where Absalom, the son of David killed his brother, Amnon. In this country vendettas can go on for years, and this is not just ancient history but a present day reality. Only today they do not use daggers or swords, but artillery and mines. This goes on on both sides night and day, and each side seems to be happy that it has done more harm to the other than they have received themselves. But what is going to be the end of it? Only the Lord knows.

Some are kept awake at night thinking about these things, but I have gotten over this. Usually I only have two hours to sleep, so as soon as I hit the ground I am dead to the world. They can shoot all the guns they want, but I have peace in my heart, because I have a good Protector, Whom few others have.

The other night after I had slept a little while, somebody woke me up. He was jealous that I could sleep in all the uproar. His eyes were almost glued together, and he asked me, “How can you sleep at a time like this, with shells bursting all around us? Are you crazy? Have you no fear”?

Quoting the Scriptures to him I said, “As often as I am afraid I shall trust my Savior and not fear.” One who has no faith must always be in fear. To be safe you have to trust God to take care of you and to watch over you. It is the same as with sheep, if they do not have a good shepherd, they sense that they are without protection and they quiver. But when they feel that they have a good shepherd who watches over them, they feel secure, and will lie down in the field and doze. My Lord said, “I am the good shepherd and you are my sheep.”

The man was very tired, but somehow after I had spoken to him his sleep left him and he said, “What does this parable mean? What are you trying to tell me?”

I told him how the Messiah Jesus slept in the bottom of a boat while his disciples were almost out of their minds with fear, because of the fierce storm and the huge waves. So, being in terror, they woke him up and He rebuked them, “Oh, ye of little faith, why do you fear?”

I explained that this is why I sleep soundly, because I know that my Shepherd watches over me. “Trust in the Lord,” I told him, “and go to sleep, and in the morning we will talk further.”

He put his head down on the stones we call the “Hilton Hotel” and immediately went off to sleep. He slept like the dead for two hours while the shooting went on. It did not disturb him. In the morning we met again at the field kitchen. He left everything and came up to me and said, “Now I understand what you were talking about. I slept like a child. What kind of psychology did you use on me? Anyway, it was effective. I do not understand what all this is about, but if it is going to do for me what it has done for you, then I am ready to believe as you do.”

Then I asked him, “What do you think is better, to walk against the wind or with the wind?”

“With the wind, of course,” he answered.

“It is the same when you walk with the Lord,” I pointed out. “ You are never alone. He is always behind you and gives you His strength.

We are going through dangerous times now, when any moment might be the last for both of us. It would be terrible at such a time to deny the truth. How can one reject the Lord Who has given us new life, new thoughts and a great future? He said, ‘Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.’ Is it not better to trust Him than to walk in fear and worry?”

He took his soup from the kitchen and sat down beside me on a little knoll and said quietly. “Thank God that He gave me comfort. I now feel as if I were home. Even the shooting does not bother me anymore. There must be some great power from above. I would not like to lose it, because I can see what it has done for me. I pray that I may always have the same faith which I have now. What a fortunate man you are!”

We became fast friends. We still share the same stone for a pillow. Wherever I go, my new-found friend tags along. He seems to be a different person.  He has no fears and laughs and talks to me all the time.

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