For a moment, it seemed like we were so close. In Israel, as in some locations in the U.S. it looked like the coronavirus pandemic had turned a corner in June.
But in July, both nations saw a resurgence in new cases and, exercising an abundance of caution, both put the brakes on reopening.
This is discouraging for everyone, but it poses unique challenges to people of faith. For months we have prayed for healing for those who have been affected by this virus and for a swift end to the pandemic. We’ve made sacrifices for the greater good, isolating ourselves in our homes, wearing masks and even staying away from our churches and synagogues.
And we’ve prayed, too, for those suffering from the devastating effects of the lockdown itself—for those who have lost jobs or entire businesses, for those whose anxiety and depression has been magnified by isolation, for the children whose education has been put on hold. Now, it may seem like all of our prayers and our efforts to “change God’s heart,” and end the pandemic, were in vain.
In life, we want to see cause and effect. If we are kind to others, we expect them to be kind in return. If we work hard, we expect to receive a fair paycheck. If we pray with all our heart, we want our prayers to be answered like they were for Isaac and Rebekah in Genesis 25:21.
Yael Eckstein is the president of the International Fellowship of Christian and Jews. As president of The Fellowship, she also holds the rare distinction of being a woman leading one of the world’s largest, religious not-for-profit organizations, having raised $1.8 billion—mostly from Christians—to assist Israel and the Jewish people. She is the author of the newly released Generation to Generation: Passing on a Legacy of Faith to Our Children.