As this new year begins, we are once again given an opportunity to start anew, set new goals, look back and move forward to be the person HaShem has created us to be. We are given yet another time to become energized to live life moving closer to walking with Him, a time to choose to do so.
Many of you know my sister Wendy who is also a member of Ruach. She has given me permission to write the following.
Wendy has been a believer in Yeshua ever since the Oklahoma City bombing. She has walked with Him for so many years and does so in the ways that have been her journey, as is true for all of us. In our busy lives we sometimes find it difficult to do what in our hearts we know we should do. Given our busyness, weather, let alone the challenges of getting together during Covid, sometimes our resolve to attend services in person rather than on Zoom can be weakened, and even rationalized to ourselves.
So it was for Wendy last weekend. Erev Shabbat was New Year’s Eve, and although no party was planned, we were looking forward to seeing the ball drop on Times Square on TV at midnight. That was the plan until the ear shattering bang when the transformer blew out on the electric pole at the base of Wendy’s driveway for no apparent reason at 11:30 PM. As darkness filled the house, we were startled and shocked. The inability to see such a celebratory moment, let alone from a place of darkness, and given the passing of a family member so recently, made the darkness sadden us even more.
Yet, within an amazingly short time, the electric company repaired or replaced the transformer! By 11:50 we were all able to ring in the new year as the ball descended. But the wake up call didn’t end there. . .
At around 3 AM, Wendy’s hot water heater tank broke. Horrible, right? Yet Wendy’s best friend and her family were visiting and were asleep in the basement. Had her friend’s husband not needed to use the restroom when he did, had the leak not been detected then, the entire basement would have been flooded. The friends were like angels helping to clean up the mess, drenched towel after drenched towel. And Wendy will attest that she was kneeling to clean up the water, yet when she returned to bed her pajamas were dry.
After such an exhausting night of little sleep Wendy had decided that there was no way she could attend services the next morning. Yet something awoke her silently at 7 AM and she couldn’t fall back to sleep. I, on the other hand, of course was planning to go to services, and yet, for the first time ever I was sound asleep way past the time I should have awakened.
At some point Wendy decided she was going to go to services and started to get ready, but hearing no sounds from Sid and me, she thought Sid and I had already left. When she checked on us, she was shocked to find we were still asleep! So she woke us up. Had she not done so, we both would have overslept. Thanks to Wendy, we all made it on time for rehearsal and were able to bless us and our community with our Kosher Caliente worship music.
On the drive to services, as we were processing this chain of events, our thoughts were soaring with Him! The whole series of misfortunes brought us to one conclusion: HaShem needs us, each and every one of us, to serve Him, to do His will here on earth, to overcome all that would separate us from that task, the purpose of our lives. This new year brought multiple wake up calls to Wendy – a call from Rabbi Nathan just a day earlier about the upcoming Maturing in Messiah and Havruta classes, the call coming at a completely inopportune moment when she really thought she didn’t have time to take the call. Yet when she did and signed up for the class, she knew it was the right decision. A small wake up call. . .
The next day, the loud bang of the blown transformer, like a shofar call, reminded Wendy she is needed to be part of this community, to serve others and to serve Him, to prioritize Him, the message driven home by the timing of the water heater breaking. Yes, the electricity went out, but it came on just in time. Yes, the water heater broke and there was so much work to mitigate the damage, yet friends were there at exactly the right time, the dry pajamas and perfect timing to remind us that God is in it with us.
At the end of our music group’s rehearsal the musicians always pray. This week Rabbi Rich led the prayer, and ironically with perfect timing given my leaving for Florida for awhile, during the prayer Rabbi Rich prayed for safe travels for Sid and me and said to Wendy, “We need you”. Wendy and I exchanged glances of awe as all morning those were the words we were using to describe HaShem’s relationship with us and why we need to show up for Him.
The devil ain’t lazy, but God is good. Life will have its challenges, but God is steadfast, always keeping His side of the agreement even if we are not always able to see or understand at the time, and even if we don’t always live up to our side of the agreement. He waits for us and reminds us now and then. That is clear. The shofar blows, awakens us, even when not the Jewish New Year.
HaShem is almighty. He doesn’t really need us to do anything. Yet He has created us in covenant relationship with Him to serve Him and serve others. When we do so, we are living the life He has designed for us. We just every now and then need a wake up call.
As this new year begins, wake up! You will be in awe of how HaShem will show up in ways you can’t even imagine.