One of the victims of a terrorist attack on a bus yesterday was an elderly lady who loves the Lord. This tall, kind, Dutch woman moved to Israel many decades ago, rented a house in Jerusalem, and took care of lots of Palestinian orphans and children from difficult backgrounds. Marike had raised many of these precious children and was just quietly going about her life, but yesterday she took bus in Jerusalem, only to be stabbed repeatedly in the chest.
Yesterday, two terrorists boarded her number 78 bus in the Armon haNatziv (East Talpiyot) neighbourhood of Jerusalem, one with a knife, the other with a gun. They began shooting and stabbing the passengers indiscriminately, and tried to commandeer the bus. They caused carnage until the police arrived, injuring at least 16 and murdering two. One of those injured was Marike.
Today, Marike is in hospital recovering from multiple stab wounds, including a punctured lung. Thankfully, she is now in a stable condition, but badly needs our prayers, as do the scores of the victims of terror that have been wounded physically and emotionally in the violent attacks that have been happening all over Israel lately. Recovery from violence like this can take a lifetime. We encourage you to lift up Marika in your prayers, that she would heal well in body and spirit, and that she could be a testimony to the Lord in these terrible times.
Not only is Marike a special woman, but also the place that she had rented in Jerusalem also has a very special history: It was from the roof of her house that the British Major-General Charles Gordon was surveying the landscape just north of the Old City, and saw that the rock formation before him looked uncannily like a skull. He is one of the main proponents of the theory that this was Golgotha, and that the place of Yeshua’s death and (temporary) burial rather than the traditional site of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, and encouraged the excavation of the Garden Tomb. Not only that, but Horatio Spafford, writer of the famous hymn, “It is well with my soul” is said to have also stayed in that house. And now Marike, a heroine in her own right, joins the list of people of note.
Whatever difficulties and background the Palestinian children had come from, Marike graciously cared for them and raised them as her own in an atmosphere of love, and the love of the Lord.
Horatio Spaffer himself was also no stranger to tragedy, having lost four children at sea. Another of his daughters, Bertha, explains in her book, “Our Jerusalem”, that it was, “On the high seas, near the place where his children perished he wrote the hymn that was to give comfort to so many.”
The words seem remarkably suitable today.
IT IS WELL WITH MY SOUL
When peace like a river attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea-billows roll,
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to know;
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Tho’ Satan should buffet, tho’ trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed his own blood for my soul.
My sin – oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!
My sin – not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to His cross and I bear it no more;
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, oh my soul.
And, Lord, haste the day when the faith shall be sight,
The clouds be rolled back as a scroll,
The trump shall resound, and the Lord shall descend
A song in the night, oh my soul!
Bertha Spafford also wrote, “That he could write such words at such a time was made possible by the fierceness of his struggle and the completeness of the victory.”
Please think of Marike’s fierce struggle today, representing many others who are also suffering. One of the terrorists from this bus attack was killed, but the other is also in hospital. Please also pray for him and for all these lost souls who feel that violence is the way forward – that they would meet Yeshua, and receive a whole new life in the Messiah. Let’s pray for an end to all the violence, and for God’s powerful comfort and complete victory to come out of this tradedy.
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