In life, we all face trials. Often, during the midst of these trials we find a loss of hope… becoming so wrapped up in our own problems, we forget that everything in life can be a lesson, a strengthening of faith and patience.
“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience… that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.”—James 1:2-4
How do we make it through the trials?
In James 1:19-20 and 22 we find a list of qualities needed for trials… in our trials we must be:
- Swift to hear
- Slow to speak
- Slow to wrath
- Focused on attaining the righteousness of God
- Doing, not simply hearing
When we follow these aspects, we can face our trials with hope, faith, and love. For in doing them we:
- Hear the Word of the Lord
- We speak that which the Father would have us speak
- We do not destroy our hearts with unforgiveness and anger
- Our eyes are fixed on God and His righteousness
- We DO the will of God, not our own
This does not mean that our earthly trials will be easy, or that the end is there, but it does mean that we will know peace—which is beyond earthly understanding—and that at the end of our days upon this earth, we will meet face to face with our Father.
“Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; and perseverance, character; and character, hope.” —Romans 5:1-4
Testimonies of Trials:
In our lives, it is easy to get caught up in our own problems, trials, and tribulations. Yet, Jesus tells us repeatedly not to worry—about what we will eat, drink, wear, say, or do… even when brought before a judge. We are not to worry, nor are we to fear suffering for our belief in God—yet, we still do.
The testimony of not only the Word, but of people who followed God even through trials—as Job did—give us a glimpse into how we should live.
Wilhelm Edelstein’s testimony is one…
Born July 1st, 1914 in Vienna, Austria, Wilhelm was the first of two children born to Jewish parents, Josef and Ida Edelstein.
During WWI, just after the birth of Wilhelm, Josef was called to fight. During this time, Ida and Wilhelm went to live with Ida’s relatives in Prague—her home town—in an effort to protect Wilhelm and avoid massive food shortages.
At the end of the war, Josef returned to his business in Vienna and the family reunited… not long after, Josef and Ida had a daughter, Alice.
Life was pleasant. Wilhelm began working for his father, and despite growing anti-Semitism, they faced little opposition… but it would not last.
In March 1938, Germany annexed Austria—and Nazi rule was quick to follow.
Life changed. Ida, along with other Jews, was forced to scrub city sidewalks as she listened to jeers of former friends—fearing virtually nightly violence against Jews. Yet, worse still, Wilhelm was dating a Christian—which was illegal under Nazi law, and he was arrested for it… only released on agreement that he would leave the country within 30 days.
After many attempts to cross illegally at closed borders, Wilhelm, like his sister, Alice, made his way to Prague to live with his mother’s relatives. Yet Prague was not safe either, and within three years he and his sister found themselves deported to Theresienstadt—a ghetto—where Alice was reunited with her parents after a four-year separation.
Wilhelm was deported before his parents arrived. First to the Riga ghetto, before quickly being transported between several camps, eventually finding himself in Troeglitz, a subcamp of Buchenwald. It was in Troeglitz that he had one final connection with his family. He contacted a free, Christian, man who traveled to Vienna for work—who returned with bread from Wilhelm’s aunt…a reminder of home, distant and changed.
In March 1945, mere weeks before Nazi defeat, Wilhelm was taken to Bergen-Belsen concentration camp… and after years of mistreatment, malnutrition, and strife, he died. Within a month, on April 15th, the camp was liberated. Wilhelm’s parents and sister were transported for ‘labor,’ only to find themselves in Auschwitz. Josef died in March 1944, due to starvation, and Ida was sent to the gas chambers that same year… only Alice survived.
While Wilhelm Edelstein’s existence was filled with trials, he did not lose hope. He continued as long as his physical body could, fearing the Lord all the days of his life. Though in the end his body perished, his soul could not be destroyed!
“…you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved. When they persecute you in this city, flee to another… do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. But rather fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell… he who finds his life will lose it, and he who loses his life for My sake will find it.”—Matthew 10:22-23, 28, & 39
Most of us will never face the trials that Wilhelm did. Few of us have to flee our homes, or face persecution and/or death at the hands of those who do not fear the Lord. Although we all have, and will, face trials in life—the joy that awaits us is worth it all! Hearing the Lord say, ‘Well done my good and faithful servant,’ is worth all the heartache we may now know!
Many during the Holocaust did not survive their earthly trials. Today, at My Olive Tree, we are striving to preserve the legacies and testimony of those who, like Wilhelm, gave the ultimate sacrifice for their faith. By sponsoring an olive tree via our Holocaust Victim Legacy Package YOU are not only remembering a Holocaust victim, but you are also giving a warm blanket to a Holocaust survivor—plus generations of jobs and beauty in Israel. When you sponsor a tree, when you give your love and support, you show the people of Israel that they are not forgotten! YOU serve as a living testimony of the Father’s love!