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All alone

Loneliness. Such a clear and simple word, familiar to almost everyone. We go a long way in our attempts to ease it. My personal man-made answer to it used to be chocolate. Well, sometimes it still is. Or a good TV series, one that can numb my feelings for a weekend, suck me into someone else’s life and fool me into thinking the loneliness is gone.

When I’m a bit more aligned with myself, I reach out, invite someone over for a chat and spill my heart out. And when I am in a really good place, I put my snickers on, find a hill to climb on or a blossoming field to cross, and talk over my thoughts, ideas and needs with God, opening closed doors in my heart before Him and inviting Him into rooms I did not even know exist.

It’s amazing, by the way, how quickly He enters these places inside me, once I acknowledge them and invite Him in. As if He was standing behind the door, knocking and waiting like a Gentleman for me to open it.

Ed Vebell illustration to “Loneliness Is Dangerous” by Harry Coren. Cutline: “Alone in the midst of millions, the girl, who longed to talk to someone, stood on her fire escape as the voices of others, enjoying the companionship denied her, drifted up through the night.” Sunday Mirror Magazine, August 14, 1955

Ed Vebell “Loneliness Is Dangerous”;
Harry Coren (1955) Sunday Mirror Magazine, August 14, 1955.

But I wonder: How does loneliness feel to a whole nation? Our (Israel’s) status among the nations is so unstable. We used to be trampled over, pushed around, vomited out of. Than we were carried on arms of Gentiles who could look at reality through the lens of God’s Word and take actions on our behalf. Around 1967 we were adored, lauded, envied. Today we face a mixture of many who cannot stand us, some who passionately believe the world will be better without us, and a few who are willing to stand with us. But our overall common feeling is that it is us against the entire world.

Our own flesh and blood, Jews who live outside Israel (in Western cultures) used to be our biggest fans, support Israel, lobby for us. Something changed even in that arena, especially among American Jews. Israel is not necessarily a homeland for them anymore, a safe zone they can always run to, an ideal they raise their next generations to support, visit, serve. The small size of the world is meant to blot out long distances. However, in reality, it proves to only expand them.

So how does a lonely nation act? What chocolate or TV series can we run to? Israel goes a long way in an attempt to be loved, appreciated, understood. In most cases this seems like a lost battle. One morning, I walked the streets of my city and was thinking a lot about it. I passed by a religious school for girls during a break. Everyone was playing, chatting, all except two girls who stood apart, a prayer book in their hands, and were chanting their morning prayers. They must finish reading the entire book of Psalms each day, and maybe this is what they were doing, before they could join the crowd.

I thought to myself: they will most likely feel better once they’re done, believing they did their part to deserve His favor today. Sadness shadowed over me. How remote from Truth!

Our Prime Minister is being charged with very serious accusations. After long months of investigations, the police says they have enough evidence to take him to court. It’s up to the Attorney General now, but he will need a few good months to look at the evidence and decide if he agrees with the police or not. But I wonder how does Mr. Netanyahu feel these days. I am praying for him, in his loneliness, that it will push him to the arms of the God of Israel.

Israel, our leaders, our Orthodox community, we all need Ruths who will walk a long distance with us, point towards the only One who can heal our loneliness. Will you pray with me today that we won’t try to pacify our loneliness through any other mean but will be able to hear His knocks on our doors, and invite Him in?

This article originally appeared on Ot OoMofet Ministries, February 20, 2018, and reposted with permission.

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Orna Grinman
Orna, born and raised in Israel, is a lover of books, and especially The Book. She is fascinated with the Hebrew language and with the God who created the world through the mere expression of Hebrew words. In 2003 she established Ot OoMofet Ministries (Hebrew for “A sign and Example”), whose main focus is turning stories of brokenness and hardships into stories of victory. Besides ministering to the broken hearted in Israel, she now teaches worldwide about the widowhood of Israel, the role the church plays in its restoration and on a variety of other subjects.

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