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  • Writer's pictureSteve McAtee

A Face That Brings Tears To My Eyes

My life is forever changed by the precious time in Israel for the past ten days with a loving group of people. We tracked the footsteps of Jesus, discovering the New Testament inside the Old Testament, all along the way studying at the feet of a Christ filled man. My appreciation and love for the Jewish people moved my heart further each day throughout. At the end of the trip, we visited the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum in Jerusalem. My tears flowed. I think back five years and remember the throbbing agony when I first heard the news of my son Jack’s death. With six years to process the horror of a son’s death, I’m enabled, so I thought, to more genuinely feel other’s pain. However, I cannot even begin to imagine the pain suffered by the Jews during WWII.

“The Holocaust was unprecedented genocide, total and systematic, perpetrated by Nazi Germany and its collaborators, with the aim of annihilating the Jewish people. The primary motivation was the Nazis' anti-Semitic racist ideology. Between 1933 and 1941 Nazi Germany pursued a policy that dispossessed the Jews of their rights and their property, followed by the branding and the concentration of the Jewish population. This policy gained broad support in Germany and much of occupied Europe. In 1941, following the invasion of the Soviet Union, the Nazis and their collaborators launched the systematic mass murder of the Jews. By 1945 nearly six million Jews had been murdered.”

“Most of the Jews of Europe were dead by 1945. A civilization that had flourished for almost 2,000 years was no more. The survivors – one from a town, two from a host – dazed, emaciated, bereaved beyond measure, gathered the remnants of their vitality and the remaining sparks of their humanity, and rebuilt. They never meted out justice to their tormentors – for what justice could ever be achieved after such a crime? Rather, they turned to rebuilding: new families forever under the shadow of those absent; new life stories, forever warped by the wounds; new communities, forever haunted by the loss. And now, the foretold miracle of Israel reestablishing itself as a thriving nation has come to be.”

Studying this picture of the Jews being led out of the Warsaw Ghetto to meet their death, I see that the boy stands apart from the crowd. His hands held high in frozen surrender as if time had stopped. Frozen in time. I see so much fear and pain on their faces. Let us never forget what happened just eighty years ago. Today, the same evil spirit that perpetrated these crimes is busily at work. The Jewish people are a wonderful people and they are the Apple of God’s eyes. This is precisely why Israel is once again a nation. God gives a solemn warning that He will punish those who oppress Israel. To touch Israel is to poke one’s finger in God’s eye. This word picture helps me understand the tender affection God has for His chosen people. Embrace and love them and the true God will reward you in heaven.

  • “ For thus says the Lord of hosts,

  • “After glory He has sent Me against the nations which plunder you,

  • for he who touches you, touches the apple of His eye.”

  • Zechariah 2:8

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