“We never gave up on God, and God never gave up on us.”
Meet Shalom Schwartz. We would be remiss to call him a victim of loss in his village, Mevo Modi’im in Israel, because he is in fact a victor. Meeting someone who’s every earthly belonging has been consumed by fire—not just by accident, but by malicious attack—someone who is faced with rebuilding their entire life, would presumably be a dismal encounter. But meeting Shalom was an inspiration. It was a somber scene to tour the village in ashes and see his home of 40 years with very little left, but his spirit of courage and victory is one we can all learn from. Shalom said, “We never gave up on God, and God never gave up on us.”
And provide for those who grieve in Zion-- to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the LORD for the display of his splendor.
They will rebuild the ancient ruins and restore the places long devastated; they will renew the ruined cities that have been devastated for generations.
Aliens will shepherd your flocks; foreigners will work your fields and vineyards.