Scattered throughout the world is a generation of warriors. Yet few of them ever held a gun or engaged in violent warfare.
These warriors once faced horrors 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 difficult life left to them in a world swift to forget what they endured.
Who are these warriors?
This generation of warriors we are speaking of is comprised of Holocaust survivors. Men and women—many mere children at the time—who lost virtually everything but their lives and struggled to find their way after the horrors were over.
Every one of these men and women—now seniors surviving against all odds—lost homes, family, and quite often even the clothes on their backs. Yet, they fought. They acted as warriors…
Because every day spent in those horrors they had a choice… to lay down and die, or press on. It would have been easy to give in… but these survivors chose to continue. They chose the higher road.
Yet just because the Holocaust was stopped at great cost 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, grandparents, aunts, uncles, 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 for us to understand.
They fought. Not with weapons of war, but with love and life! Building and planting a brighter future… in Israel and around the world!
What can we learn from Holocaust survivors?
We each make choices every day of our lives. Sometimes they are small—seemingly insignificant in their design. Yet, as the days and years roll by, we find that we’ve all made MAJOR choices!
Our choices have brought us to where we are. And yes, we have all had bumps on the road. The enemy has tried to stop or misdirect us. But the enemy also tried to stop every Jew, Gypsy, and others labeled as “less than desirable” from surviving the Holocaust. We are not alone in the attacks we face. Even Jesus faced them! The question is, how will we respond?
We can choose the broad road of destruction, where death and despair wait. Or we can choose the higher path. That narrow road that God has placed before us that leads to life!
As many Holocaust survivors can attest to, it is not always easy choosing the path of life, but it is a far better way. It is where we discover who God is and who we are in Him. It is where we journey to sit at His feet. But we can choose not to take it…
We can choose to live in safety, staying in the same place despite the 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.
God uses people in all walks of life. The opportunities God places before each of us vary, but the choice of taking God’s path or ours is the same. And no matter what the path He places before us may look like we are ALL 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 who does not rely on physical warfare, but spiritual… bringing the life and freedom of God. Restoring those who were once captives!
We can choose life—for the power of life and death are in the tongue! We can choose to make a difference. To be God’s vessels of change not only for Holocaust survivors, but for all the Lord puts in our path!
For each of us the choices we have to make 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 Becoming One
Jesus told us that in giving we would receive. That with the measure we use—the measure we give—it is measured 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.”
“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.’”
“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.”
When we lack something, one of the best things we can 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 should give friendship
- If we lack encouragement, we should encourage others
- If we lack knowledge in one area, we are to give knowledge in another
- If we lack hope, we should bring hope to others
By surrendering the things we need or want—giving them away—God gives each of us a greater measure of that which we ourselves are willing to give. What we are willing to surrender.
Sometimes abundance is held back because we cling to things. Because we are unwilling to give that which we need, thinking there will be nothing left for us. But that is a false idea of provision…
Remember when Jesus multiplied the loaves and fishes?
He and His disciples could have kept the few loaves and fishes they had and been satisfied, afraid that they would not have enough left if they gave. Yet, Jesus and His disciples gave out of what, in the flesh, appeared to be a lack—Jesus had faith and understanding that it would be multiplied. And because they gave what they themselves needed, everyone there that day went from lack to surplus in an instant! Because that is how God’s economy works. If we obey, He supplies.
Therefore, if we want to become the next generation of warriors for God, we should give to those who are God’s current generation of warriors… Holocaust survivors.
While many survivors of the Holocaust are still alive, every year the number shrinks. We have a limited time in which to bless them! In which to answer our call!
At My Olive Tree, one of our greatest joys is to bless the Holocaust survivors, and one way we do that—through people like YOU—is to plant trees in their honor and in honor of those whose choice of life was stolen from them!
When we plant olive trees to remember victims of the Holocaust, they are blessed! As are their offspring and the very nation of Israel! Because for every tree we plant we bring life, beauty, and jobs! We bring hope and dignity to Holocaust survivors who see that they have not been forgotten, that they are loved, and that we are ACTIVELY making a difference in Israel! That their children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren will experience a brighter future!
Every man, woman, and child who faced the Holocaust deserves to be remembered… and with one tree at a time, we are striving to make that happen! Will YOU be a part?