She is only seventy years old, but she has been through a lot in her lifetime. She was born in the dark, out of the horrors of the Holocaust, and the moment she took her first breath, she was beaten on every side. Though by miracle she survived, her neighbors rejected her existence and sought to destroy her life. She was cast down, hated, rejected, attacked, but through it all, she stood firm. Like a plant, she grew up, though her soil was dry ground. Despite her conditions, she prospered and she called to her family, “Come home”! She bid to her relatives, to her cousins alike, to come reside with her in her house. But once again, she was beaten- this time from within.
She fought for her security, giving her all for the sake of her children, yet she was left with only rations to feed her family. But she rose up, learning to be resourceful and to work skillfully with her hands. In the marketplace, she was banned from selling her goods, but again, she didn’t give up. Though she is hated, she holds out her hands to make peace, to forgive and even to save the lives of her enemies. But those she extends her hands to, despise the very mention of her name. Yet in all these things, she has learned to overcome, for there was One who was fighting for her. In the midst of her rejection, she was given a promise, “You will live, for I am with you”.
Today she stands in a strong house, a house that her God has built for her. Her gifts of talents and wisdom go out to the nations, even to those who seek to destroy her life. Today, she celebrates her seventieth birthday, as a woman who is stronger now than ever before. But lest we forget where her strength comes from, let Israel now say;
“If it had not been the Lord who was on our side”, let Israel now say; “If it had not been the Lord who was on our side, when men rose up against us: Then they had swallowed us up quick, when their wrath was kindled against us: Then the waters would have overwhelmed us, the stream would have gone over our soul: Then the proud waters would have gone over our soul. Blessed be the Lord, who has not given us as a prey to their teeth. Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers: the snare is broken, and we are escaped. Our help is in the name of the Lord, who made heaven and earth.” – Psalm 124