Is the opposite of a widow a married woman? I used to think so. Changed my mind. I now believe that the opposite of a widow is a bride.
One wears black, the other white. One mourns the loss of her relationship, the other looks up to a future and a forming relationship, and is full of excitement. Ashes versus crown or wreath. And so on.
Israel is a widow (for more on that go into Israel, a widow?), but that’s only a temporary status. She will not remain a widow forever (Isa. 54:4). Israel is not a widow because she lacks a Husband, but because she does not acknowledge Him as such. As of now, He is hiding from her a certain part of His character.
This widow is being restored from her mourning, and begins to replace her ashes with a beautiful wreath. She is turning into a bride, and gradually learns to recognize her Husband as the lover of her soul, and not as her greatest enemy. It is a fascinating process, tied directly to the Messianic Body in Israel today, and to everything else our nation is going through.
But what practically turns a widow into a bride? How can you, as Ruth, pray for this widow, whom most of her children are not even aware of this status and the process we are going through as a nation?
I’ve spent the past weekend with five young Messianic brides. This was the launching event of a new project we added to our ministry. It is called “Libech,” meaning Your Heart. Dana and I taught them how to listen to God through their negative feelings, thoughts and circumstances. But as they were working on their own hearts, I was also listening to what it is that they are concerned with; what stands before their eyes as they choose one decoration or another, think about the vow they are about to take, the covenant they are about to enter in; and what is in the heart of a bride-to-be that sometimes hinders her from focusing on that which she so desires to focus on?
All brides are looking forward to the future, to a marvelous day of celebration and to all that follows. Any spare moment our precious participants had during the Libech weekend, was dedicated to talk about preparations for the Big Day.
But in the midst of all the excitement there were many concerns and questions, stormy emotions and a past that needed to be moved out of the way. What do you do with that past? Suppress it? Ignore it? Pretend it doesn’t exist?
Dana and I taught them to recognize God’s Hand in these questions, how to manage them, clear them out of the way, and how to invite Him into every emotion, thought or fact that robs their energy, joy and patience.
It has given me many images and enriched my terminology in praying for Israel. How can you pray for her to rise from her widowhood? Here are some points, that may inspire you as you pray for us:
- Israel needs to acknowledge her status as a widow, as a nation that does not lean on God, that lives in a spiritual ruin. You can pray for that revelation. The secular Jews in Israel couldn’t care less about God, and they are the majority. The average feeling of secular Jews is either one of indifference about our future as a nation, or a deep mourning over our present situation. Either way. God is not even in the picture. He is a part of our history, but most of us cannot see Him as the solution to our present huge problems, let alone the future.
- Many Israelis carry a sense of heaviness and many emotions because of our past and present wounds. We hold a lot against all those nations who trampled over us throughout history, and those we hurt today and who hurt us back. If a nation has a heart, than the Israeli heart is broken, shuttered, disillusioned. Bitter. We are a modern Naomi, who could use a Ruth to bring all these feelings that we have to the feet of the Redeemer.
- When we are in trouble, we tend to lean on the Arm of our Flesh (our wisdom, our army), and not to seek the lover of our soul, who has a higher plan for us and great promises to fulfill.