|Stefan Silver with his parents, David and Josie|
Stephan Silver was at home enjoying some well earned time off when he heard the news of Cpl. Shalit's capture. Immediately his officer training prompted him into action. Within minutes he was packed and organizing troop details for his unit to mobilize...
Stephan serves as a 1st Lieutenant in the IDF. This 21 year old is second in command of a combat company of 90 soldiers. His unit is responsible to patrol along the Lebanese border. The IDF has trained and equipped Stephan well but as the Second Lebanon war raged on Stefan experienced the miraculous power of God that no hi-tech weapon could match.
A week into the war, Stefan and his men were in a border town loading their gear off a truck when news came that 5 IDF soldiers on a mission in Lebanon had been killed in an ambush. In the ensuing retrieval mission, 4 bodies were recovered but one remained. Stefan went back over the border with two tanks to recover the last fallen comrade. Hizb'allah was also in pursuit of the body but by God's grace Stefan and his men prevailed.
This was the first of many dangerous missions Stefan led during the war. Time and again Stefan faced ambushes, rocket attacks, booby traps and road mines. At the start of each new and dangerous mission Stefan would broadcast over his tank's internal radio these words of hope and faith to his men:
He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him I will trust. Surely He will deliver you from the snare of the fowler and from the perilous pestilence. He shall cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you shall take refuge. His truth shall be your shield, and buckler. You shall not be afraid of the terror by night; nor the arrow that flies by day; nor of the pestilence that walks in darkness, nor of the destruction that lays waste at noonday. A thousand may fall at your side, and ten thousand at your right hand; but it shall not come near you. (Psalm 91:1-7)
Tanks can be cumbersome when facing guerrilla warfare. Though powerful, they are not as mobile as infantry and their huge diesel engines and track treads can be heard a long ways off. Many of the villages of south Lebanon served as cover for Hizb'allah guerrillas seeking to set ambushes for Israeli armor. Stefan was all too familiar with this risk. "I was afraid. Sometimes my heart was really pumping but I knew that nothing would happen to me. I had a sense of assurance - deep down I knew I was protected."
Faith is not the absence of fear but rather setting one's will to move forward even when fearful emotions are in play. Stephan's prayer for protection was "Lord, even though we are in this big noisy tank make us invisible ..."
Stefan saw comrades die before his eyes: "The hardest part of the war was seeing the young men killed. I would be thinking what it would be like for their mothers. How would they take the news that their sons had been killed?"
For Stephan's own mother, Josie, these matters were a constant motivation for prayer:
"I was in my own war. I had to quickly take hold of my thoughts and force myself to believe the Word of God. Many nights I would spend on the floor on my face crying. So often I had no words but the Lord knows the heart. I didn't need words - my heart cry was all God needed to know what I was saying"
Josie is an intercessor with deep experience in coming before the Lord on behalf of others but the war took her to new depths of prayer. There are prayers that only mothers truly know. Stefan's simple prayer for protection was joined in the heavenly realms by the deep cry of a mother's love.
Our soldiers faced many difficulties and fought with honour and courage. Over 100 made the ultimate sacrifice for the nation by laying down their lives for Eretz Yisrael. Many mothers have been bereaved of their children. We honour these young fallen heroes but we do them no disservice by marveling at the answer to Stefan and Josie's prayers. Though under heavy fire and rocket attacks, not one of Stefan's company of 90 men was even injured. Stefan's company is part of a battalion of 700 men; not one soldier was killed from this battalion. This is truly the secret place of the Most High. One of Stefan's fellow deputy company commanders could only ponder with incredulity, "I don't understand how you haven't been hit yet. It is like you guys are invisible!"
Stefan will soon finish his 4 years of duty and is looking forward to civilian life. But he knows being a soldier in Israel's army is to stand against spiritual forces opposed to God who are endeavoring to thwart His sure and unshakable promises. Stefan explained, "I know there is a spiritual dimension to this conflict. The war was to stop Katyushas but I know I was also defending Israel in the spiritual realm. Because I know God is with me I did not let fear overtake me. He gave me the confidence to do what I needed to do." Buoyed by a mother's prayers, this young man can truly say, "the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress; my God; in Him I will trust."
A MOTHER'S HEART
During the Lebanon war and with our son Stefan in frontline combat for the entire conflict, I found myself being thrust and plummeted into a place of taking hold of Yeshua in ways I had not needed to before the war. I had no choice. Deep places in me were opened up and out of that deep place came the deep heart cry. It is in times such as this that are so totally overwhelming, devastating and life threatening that we call out to the God Israel with all that is within us, deep calling unto deep. When life is relatively peaceful and comfortable, the deep cry is not there.
After the war I began to see that Israel as a nation is going to very soon enter into this place of desperation, and will have no choice but to release that heart cry unto our God, the God of Israel, who is our only hope for deliverance from the wolves that surround us. A cry that He is waiting to hear from His people, so that He can deliver them (not the USA or other nations or even our IDF) and all the earth will know that there is a God in Israel.
|Let us know what you think - why not comment to this article. The authors of these articles are often involved in intense ministry and are thus unable to respond to most comments. As is normal with print and online magazines, Tikkun reserves the right to publish only those comments we feel are edifying in tone and content.|
Also in this issue of the newsletter:
|Dan Juster: The Cave and the Shadows|
|Eric Morey: Kehilat Poriya|
|Revive Israel: While I rode the Bus Home|