By Susan Mister

As I write this, it is the end of January, the season of gift giving is behind us, and yet, I have been given one special gift that I‘m excited about and want to share with all of you.

This is the first of monthly columns, where, as the title depicts, I’ll share my perspective from biblical truths. Understand, I am not educated in theology, never attended seminary, only started bible studies two years ago. I was raised in a reformed Jewish home, which meant no Friday night Sabbath meal or temple on Saturday mornings. In place of a Christmas tree, houses don a menorah, which I still light during the 8-nights of Chanukah. We eat shellfish and yes, bacon! There is a God! 

I recall hearing The Shema, a prayer you’ll find in Deuteronomy 6:4-9. I’ve been called a complete Jew, Messianic Jew and I’ve heard of “Jews for Jesus,” which sounds like a label or a movement. Bottom line, I believe Jesus died for my sins, was resurrected and is alive and reigning today!

I respect my roots and enjoy reading in The Old Testament the traditions I learned as a child. My exciting walk, now, is getting to know The Messiah, Jesus Christ, delving into the firsthand-witnessed miracles, signs and wonders written in the New Testament.

I would never say your religious/spiritual beliefs don’t have substance and I respect the path you’ve chosen. Each of us has a personal faith, yet, I can only write what is true for me and comes from my heart, through which, I believe, the Holy Spirit speaks.

My husband of 27 years passed away last year, on Jan. 31, so grief is the topic on my heart. Leaning on God, who is near to the brokenhearted (Psalm 34:18) and always with us (Psalm 16:8, Joshua 1:5), is what has allowed me to walk through grief, rather than get stuck in it. 

In reality, we are all grieving the loss of something as a result of the pandemic. Is it a loved one? Change in health? Job insecurity? Financial impacts? Each one of us is suffering changes to our lifestyle: severed relationships, loneliness, isolation, restrictions in the way we worship, inability to bury those we’ve lost or even celebrate their lives! What about our children? Besides academic deterioration, lack of socialization, limited physical exercise, what’s the consequence of being with parents 24/7? Children grieve, as well.

When we suffer, pray (James 5:13). Our prayer is often “Lord, get me out of this!” I choose surrendering to the pain, knowing that suffering builds strength and endurance and God will use it towards good (1Peter 5:10).

Join me as we learn about each other. I will not use social media, but reach out through this email: [email protected]. I invite your feedback and perspective without hostility, please.

I close, in the fruit of the spirit given to all believers: peace, love, joy, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness and self control (Galatians 5:22-23).

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