Scattered throughout the world is a generation of warriors. Yet few of them ever held a gun or engaged in violent warfare.
Instead, these warriors once faced horrors nearly as horrific as the battlefield—in many ways even more so—on a near daily basis, often for years. Then they left their battlefield, only to find that the war was not over for them… because they still had to struggle with adapting. Adapting to the shell of life left to them in a world swift to forget those horrors.
Who are these warriors?
The generation of warriors we are speaking of is comprised of Holocaust survivors. Men and women—many mere children when facing the shock of despair—who lost virtually everything and struggled to find their way back.
Every one of these men and women—now seniors surviving against all odds—lost much, if not everything but their lives. Yet, they fought. They acted as warriors.
Every day spent in those horrors, they had a choice… to lay down and die, or press on. Every day, they could choose to give in. Yet, these survivors chose to continue.
Still, just because the Holocaust was stopped in its tracks does not mean their war ended—that their fight was done. No. Every day they still had a choice—to press on or fall into despair, depression… death. They had a choice to fight or not.
Many of them lost everyone in the Holocaust. Mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, husbands, wives, children, aunts, uncles, grandparents, cousins, friends, mentors… the list of people who died could go on seemingly forever…
Yet, they fought.
They chose to start new lives; live despite memories too horrible to utter.
What can we learn from this generation of Holocaust survivors?
Every day of our lives we make choices. Sometimes they are small—seemingly insignificant in their design. Yet, as the days and years roll by, we find that we have all made MAJOR choices. We have all made the choices that led us to this place in our lives… and yes, the enemy has tried to stop us or misdirect us. But the enemy also tried to stop every Jew, Gypsy, and those labeled as “less than desirable” from surviving the Holocaust. In attacks from the enemy we are not alone—even Jesus faced them.
And still, every day we get to choose if we take the easy road or the road placed before us by God—made easy as we lay the journey and outcome at His feet.
We can choose to live in safety, staying at the same job despite opportunities God has laid at our feet—too scared to step out of the comfortable pattern of life. We can live never telling anyone about God, never being His light on earth… because it is safe. Because it is comfortable.
Yes, God uses people in all walks of life, and not all of us are called to preach to thousands or even leave a certain corner of the world—though the choices of taking God’s path or ours are the same. But many of us ARE called to step out! We are called to make a difference in more than a single life. We are called to set captives free and become a new generation of warriors. An army of soldiers not of earthly war or violence, but of bringing the life and freedom of God… of the restoration of those once captives.
We can choose life—for the power of life and death are in the tongue. We can choose to make a difference and be God’s vessels of change.
For each of us the choices vary; what scares us into complacency varies. Yet, we can each overcome. God is standing next to us, holding out His hand, waiting for us to take it and follow Him WHEREVER He leads.
Hear my cry, O God; attend to my prayer.
From the end of the earth I will cry to You,
when my heart is overwhelmed;
lead me to the rock that is higher than I.
“For You have been a shelter for me,
a strong tower from the enemy.
I will abide in Your tabernacle forever;
I will trust in the shelter of Your wings. Selah.”
— Psalm 61:1-4
We CAN make the choice to grasp His hand, to follow Him when we are given the option to go another way. We each have that strength within us, because God lives in us!
“The steps of a good man are ordered by the Lord, and He delights in his way.”—Psalm 37:23
Helping a generation of warriors AND aligning for our call:
Jesus Himself told us we would receive as we give. That the measure we use would be used to measure back to us…
“For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.”—Matthew 7:2
“Then He said to them, ‘Take heed what you hear. With the same measure you use, it will be measured to you; and to you who hear, more will be given.’”—Mark 4:24
“Give, and it will be given to you: good measure, pressed down, shaken together, and running over will be put into your bosom. For with the same measure that you use, it will be measured back to you.”—Luke 6:38
Thus, when we lack something, often the best thing to do is give to others what we lack…
- If we lack money, we need to make sure we are not withholding our tithes and offerings.
- If we lack friendship, we are to give friendship.
- If we lack knowledge in one area, we are to give knowledge in another.
- If we lack words of encouragement, we should give words of encouragement.
God gives each of us a greater measure of that which we ourselves are willing to give. Or in other words, what we are willing to surrender.
Sometimes, abundance is held back because we are clinging to things… unwilling to give that which we ourselves need, because we think nothing will be left for us. Maintaining false ideas of provision.
Yet, it was Jesus who multiplied the loaves and fishes…
He and His disciples could have kept the few loaves and fishes they started with. They could have eaten their fill, afraid that they would not have enough to eat if they gave. Yet, Jesus and His disciples gave out of what, in the flesh, appeared to be a lack—and only Jesus had the unlimited faith that it would be multiplied. Everyone there that day went from lack to surplus in moments… because that is how God’s economy works. If we obey, He supplies.
Thus, if we want to become the next generation of warriors for God, we are to give to those who are God’s current generation of warriors… Holocaust survivors.
Holocaust survivors are still alive in surprising numbers, yet, every year the number shrinks, and time is running out for us to bless them.
At My Olive Tree we are helping Holocaust survivors as we plant olive trees in remembrance of those who did not survive—the warriors who once were, or never had the chance to be. These trees not only are planted in remembrance of those who did not survive the horrors, but they give life, beauty, and jobs to a new generation; giving hope and dignity to hundreds of Holocaust survivors that we are ACTIVELY supporting in Israel!
We are within a hair’s breadth of completing our initial goal of remembering a list of 227 of the 6,000,000 who died. Every man, woman, and child deserves remembrance… and one tree at a time, we are striving to make that happen through people like YOU.