Adversity Brings Opportunity

Now that I am 77 years old, I think it is safe to say that my lifelong belief that I would die young was an illusion. When I was 15 I knew I wouldn’t reach 20. When I was 20 I knew I wouldn’t make it to 25, and so on. Some might think it was a morbid illusion, but the idea that I didn’t have very long to live always pushed me to take advantage of as many opportunities as I could.

Well, I missed my opportunity to die young. I’ve even missed the opportunity to die semi-old, though I’ve had some close calls. But in February of 2007 I was diagnosed with prostate cancer that had metastasized to the bones. So, unless God intervenes, my latest illness is terminal.

I may or may not be here next year, but in any case, this illness has become an occasion for me to seek out opportunities. Maybe you are facing illness or adversity and are looking for similar opportunities. Here is a bit of what I’m learning.

Adversity is an opportunity to gain perspective.

 Do you remember being a kid on a road trip, continually asking, “Are we there yet?” or, “Are we almost there?” Maybe later on you found yourself on the receiving end of such questions, which are almost always asked with impetuous impatience.

We need perspective, not only at beginnings, but also at the end of things, as well as in-between, so that we might patiently understand the rate of travel. Adversity has us asking questions to help us determine what is ahead, and what we should do about it. Adversity points out where we have been, and challenges us to realize where we are at.

When God asked Adam, “Where are you?” it was not because the Almighty Creator had failing sight or suddenly forgot the geography of the Garden of Eden. No, He was asking Adam to take stock and gain perspective regarding his spiritual condition. In the face of adversity, be it physical or spiritual, God asks us where we are—not because He doesn’t know, but because He wants us to gain perspective, to see if we are where we should be.

Adversity is an opportunity to appreciate all we’ve been given, as well as the Giver.

 I, for one, was certainly dealt a better life than I feel I deserved. I’ve had a lot of goodness, a little pain—until now, when the pain is not so little—as well as a lot of joy and a little regret. I can truly say to God, “Giving myself to You was the best deal I ever got. The life that You’ve given me in return has been bountiful and beautiful.” But it’s important for me not to focus my attention merely on the quality of life I’ve received, but on the Giver of life who loved and gave Himself for me. Remembering His goodness in the midst of suffering makes it easier to look forward to the goodness that awaits and lasts forever, far beyond the reach of sickness and suffering. But in the meanwhile . . .

Adversity is an opportunity to enter into suffering with Christ.

 Jesus didn’t suffer less because of His perfection. He endured more pain than anything that is expected of me or you. Satan’s weapon of pain is almost, but not quite, devastating. But we can endure the burden of agony by folding our soul into Him who endured and overcame. Pain rips us open and we find that we can accept the entry of others into our lives with new openness and vulnerability.

Adversity is an opportunity to seek reconciliation.

 I always knew that the Lord expected me to seek reconciliation with some people “sooner or later.” But since “later” might come soon, I’d better move now. As I pack my spiritual baggage for this journey, I don’t regret much that I have done, but I do regret much that I have not done. So I have been calling and writing to people whom I’ve neglected.

Adversity is an occasion to tell and receive blunt truths.

 I’ve also put off dealing with some people because in order to be righteous, I need to be blunt. For example, a Christian friend borrowed money from me. I don’t ordinarily lend money; I would rather simply give it, because I hate to be put in a position of being my own collection agency. But this person would not allow me to give the money, so with much reassurance of repayment, I loaned it—and have not been repaid. Now I need to tell my friend bluntly to either pay back the loan, or else accept my forgiveness for keeping the money that I wanted to give in the first place.

This is also a time for me to hear blunt words from others who encounter some of my difficult ways. I recently had a small quarrel with a good friend, just because I insisted on picking up the check for a meal. I’ve got to admit, it was pride that led me to insist on picking up the check. I didn’t think of my friend’s feelings, or how I ought to defer when others would also like to be generous. Which brings me to the next opportunity.

Adversity is an opportunity to show love.

 It’s not just a matter of saying, “I love you,” or sending a cardboard greeting card in February. We can do many things to demonstrate our affection. I have been avoiding one friend who asked me to read a manuscript. Up until very recently, I’ve not been able to read because of a cataract. But I recently had such a successful surgery that now I can enjoy reading more than ever. Still, it takes time and concentration, both of which I have in limited supply. But I know the loving thing is to read and comment on at least the first couple of chapters of my friend’s book. Who knows? Once I start, I might read it all the way through. That’s one way I can show love.

As lovers of Y’shua, we should be giving ourselves to one another. Maybe some young people I know might need a grandfather in their lives. At 77, I’ve had some experience at that and can give myself to others that way. And while traveling down the streets in my power wheelchair, I like to give smiles to whoever I see.

Sharing resources is another way to show love. I enjoyed making out my will. Yes, my wife gets most of it, though “it” is far less than it was this time last year. But making a will was an occasion for me to remember people and institutions I love and want to support. Even if you don’t have much, pretend like you have a million dollars. Sit down and ask yourself how you can provide for those who depend on you, and what you have to give to those you love.

Adversity is an opportunity to strengthen the character of our souls through spiritual exercises.

 I’m constantly finding something in the Bible that I didn’t see before. (Or maybe I saw it before and recently forgot it because of the pain medication!) It is good to continue discovering things in God’s Word. I’ve also found that I’m enjoying prayer more than ever. Which brings me to the next opportunity.

Adversity is an opportunity to confer blessings on others.

 If we have been blessed of God, and God has given us much, like Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, we can transmit that blessing to others. I’ve invited certain Christians to bring their children to me to be blessed, but the blessing is not restricted to children.

Mark Levitt is the son of one of my closest friends, Zola Levitt, who went to be with the Lord in 2006. Mark was left with the full responsibility of carrying on Zola’s ministry. I wanted to bless him as the leader of that ministry, recognizing him as God’s choice for the task. And so I anointed Mark as a symbolic recognition that he is the head of Zola Levitt Ministries, and David Brickner joined me.

Adversity is an opportunity to be a witness.

This is the most important opportunity of all. If you want to pray for me, pray that my death might correspond to my life. Throughout years of ministry, God directed me and gave me enough courage to attempt difficult things; He gave me the strength to be an overcomer. He took Jews for Jesus from being a small group with a curious slogan and made us into an international witness to Jewish people everywhere. I marvel at what God has done; it has meant so much to me to be part of it. Now, I hope for the courage to die in a way that will put the seal on the meaning of my life.

The other day my wife told me, “Don’t dig your grave before you’re ready to lie down in it!” So even though I am getting ready, I’m not going to resign from life. Please don’t mourn me before I’m gone. But I would appreciate your prayers, as I take to heart a verse that applies to the young and healthy, as well as to the old and infirm. That is, “So teach us to number our days, that we may gain a heart of wisdom” (Psalm 90:12).  

19 Comments to “Adversity Brings Opportunity”

  1. May God truely bless this man. I pray that many others are touched by his life and all the great things he did. xxx

  2. I enjoyed the wisdom and humor of Mr Rosen along with his lion’s heart for Christ. The words of St. Paul come to mind: To live is Christ, to die is gain! Like all those called to God, 1 Corinthians 2:9 has come true for him. I could feel the power of God in him and was drawn to his words. He was a great light for Christ, and I will miss him even though I never met him. But I rejoice for he is with his Lord in a far better place.

  3. When I first saw a Jews for Jesus tract (probably at the University of Minnesota, Duluth sometime between 1974-77) I was amazed at the humor and its “hook” to find out more. I was already born-again, but I fell in love with the Jewish people and the roots of our faith. I read the name Moishe Rosen then, not knowing that some thirty years later I would get to meet his daughter, Susan, who has given the “Christ In The Passover” presentation at the church my husband pastors in Dixon, CA. Though I never got to meet Moishe, like others, I loved him. And we still love Jews For Jesus and the work that is being done to win lost souls. We can’t wait to see all the Jewish believers that will be in Heaven with us someday! I wonder how many were brought in by this ministry.

    Karen Vraa

  4. My condolences to the Rosen family and the Jews for Jesus community. We do recall however, that to be ‘absent from the body is to be present with the Lord’. He’s having a glorious time right now, as we all will when we’re finally ‘with the Lord’.

    I wanted to praise God for Mr. Rosen’s faithfulness to God’s call. Jews for Jesus is one of the best evangelical groups around. So creative in outreach!

    When I was in college, a couple decades ago, I appreciated when J4J members would visit campus. Students would pay attention to them because of the unique approach they had.

    And the tracts! Only tracts I ever would hand out were from J4J. They were topical, funny, hip and got the point across.
    My favorite tract series, still, were the tracts based on Star Wars. Many churches were condemning the movie due to the ‘Force’. However, J4J nailed it by using the themes, like the ‘Force’, and turing the topic towards Jesus!

  5. Havilah Lawhead

    I have given to Jews for Jesus since the early 1980’s as I learned this from my then-husband. My giving equaled a partnership and participation in many events, including witnesses to Jews while on the UCLA campus with Doug Pyle, a full time Jewish Evangelist. I have loved and benefited from the Messianic message culminating in a trip to Israel which changed me forever…close to being Born-again again! There I bought a beautiful Davidic blessing tee shirt which served to attract Jews on the street in NYC so I could hand them hand Is. 53 tracts. I will now and forever be grateful to Moishe and his BOLDNESS to proclaim the Messiahship of Y’shua to all nations of the world. May all of us now be wearers of his same Mantle! Thank you Elohim for Moishe’s life and ministry.

  6. My condolences to the Rosen family and the Jews for Jesus community. As was the case with Esther, Moishe’s life was calculated for such a time as this. He served His Lord faithfully by proclaiming Jesus as the saviour of all men. May his work continue to reflect his ambition and may Jews everywhere be brought into the saving knowledge of Jesus Christ. While we mourn our loss of Moishe, we celebrate his life’s accomplishments and relish in the knowledge that our dear brother has received the complement “Well done, good and faithful servant, enter into the joy of the Lord.” As believers in Jesus, we all look forward to that promised great family reunion in the place that Jesus has prepared for us.
    God Bless the Rosen family.

  7. I was blessed by our meeting in the San Francisco headquarters where I “accidentally” found the ministry which I had supported, but that day in June, 1986 I dropped in. Moishe came out to the reception area and gave me the tour of the ministry and introduced me to everyone. I also got to hear the latest Liberating Wailing Wall recording. I will miss him also — a strong soldier in the faith and beloved friend. His books are so edifying and informative that the strongest gainsayer can’t refute. He was a tremendous example of how to communicate our faith.

    I pray that the Spirit of God will comfort all those who are mourning — beginning with his beloved family, Jews for Jesus, and all his friends worldwide.

    Thank you Father for lending him to us for a while.

  8. I worked in the diamond district on 47th St in NY for many years. Jews for Jesus would come down the street and witness to the Jews there. I can remembering a Jew for Jesus testifying to the Hasidim Jews. The Hasidim would get very angry but these brothers would never let them get under their skin. They were shinning lights among some angry Jews. It reminded me of what Jesus must have felt like when the angry Jewish mobs were screaming at Him. The Jews for Jesus were influential to my salvation and planted many seeds. I would think ” If Jews can stand up for Jesus then I most certainly can”.

    God bless you Moishe. I know God had a tremendous reward waiting for you up at Kingdom headquaters


  10. I want to thank the Lord for the fidelity that He instilled in Moishes heart. It was in the early 1980’s that Shoshana Tilleman witness to me in Mexico City.

  11. I am a catholic brother, that was very impressed when I read the letter of Moishe. I can feel that he was a very holy man, obedient to the Will of God.
    May Yeshua bless him and his family forever!

    Jorge Frech

  12. Margaret Hubbell

    Dear Ones,

    I’m saddened by the news of Mr. Rosen’s death. I know that he is rejoicing with our Lord and Savior and that gives you great comfort. He impacted my life when I was a new believer and he came to my church in San Jose, CA to do a Sader dinner. I was touched by how there are so many remembrances in that dinner of events in the history of Israel and our Passover Lamb.

    I have thought of him and the ministry of Jews For Jesus over the years and have prayed that he and the ministry would bear much fruit.

    To God be all glory for his life and ministry and may our precious Jesus comfort family, friends, co-workers and those impacted by his ministry.

    Margaret Hubbell

  13. I have to agree with Marianne on the Comments above. I don’t know him but I love him. I have some Hebrew blood and I am comfortable with the demeanor of the Jewish mentality. My mom was a Presbyterian who rendezvoud with my half Jewish, half Christian Science dad while at college back in 1956. After having 3 kids and losing his athletic prowess to injury, my dad was frustrated and without a common faith, the enemy separated them and set me sailing into my reckless future.
    Feeling abandoned and confused with a cross bred spirit and mind, the Jewish instincts of my soul drove my creativity towards destruction. I was the most energetic destroyer around, only destroying my own life at the same time.
    Gods promise still intact, (sons of Abraham), I had promptings from the Lord as I lived on. I didn’t know what was going on but Salvation was knocking! At 24 the final opportunity to call out to Yashua came my way and I answered.
    With my soul on the edge of destruction, I called out to Jesus and He answered back. He prayed for me and pushed back the hounds of hell. So from Presbyterian Jew to being raised by a stepfather in the Catholic faith, I now graduated to became a full blooded Spiritual Jew and was reunited with my heritage.
    Deep? Yes but not. When I read Moishe Rosen comments here, I hear a comfortable voice from my past. Like the voice of Abraham or Jacob. Imperfect men holding on to the promises that God offered them as His people. Living and dying trying to share their best understanding of the ways of God.
    I have always thought about contacting the Jews for Jesus and considering their message. I don’t know if my blood is thick enough but I love the Jewish people and have compassion on their inability to receive the truth about the Messiah. I feel that I have a discernment needed to connect with them. We will see what God has in the future. Moishe Rosen may be all the inspiration I will need.
    God Bless the sons of Abraham and all who will hear the Messiahs call.

  14. Bobbie L. Simmons.

    One of my loved ones went home to be with The Lord on 11 May 2010. I needed to read Mr. Rosen’s article. It was so beautiful and encouraging. Thank you for sharing.

  15. Reading this memorial site reminds me of my mother. What in the world could a 5′ Irish Tennesse Penecostal have in common with Moishe? In my mind’s eye, I can still see her with the latest issue or letter from Jews for Jesus. Even though, in later years, despite being widowed and depending on Social Security, she had a heartfelt devotion to his ministry and supported it with her prayers and meager finances. That’s how I came to learn of his ministry.

    Moishe was a pebble that the Lord tossed into a big pond. The ripples of his ministry reach further than than any of us can grasp. Our Lord said “I go to prepare a place for you” and I have no doubts that Moishe was greeted with “well done thou faithful servant.”

  16. Rolf D.J. Ronstadt

    Speaking of “Adversity Brings Opportunity”

    Many years ago I cultivated a friendship with a Jewish CEO. When my wife and I were called to full time ministry 18 years ago I shared my testimony and challenged him to consider supporting us in this grand endeavor of serving our Lord and Savior.

    Months went by as occasionally small amounts of support trickled in. Then one day during lunch my friend confided in me that he didn’t have a personal relationship with the Lord and that he wanted to talk to someone with a Jewish background.

    I contacted my local Jewish brother, Jhan Moskovitz who advised me to send my friend’s name to the home office of Jews for Jesus in San Francisco and that someone would follow up with my friend.

    When I returned from an extended mission trip abroad I got a phone call from my CEO friend asking me to come to his office as he had a few questions. Upon arrival the first question was “Who is this Moishe Rosen?” and the second question was “How did Moishe got his name?”

    I still remember like it was yesterday. I was sitting there with a beet red face reminding him that he told me that he wanted to talk to someone with a Jewish background and that I forwarded his name to Jews for Jesus.

    His stern face changed into a wide and happy smile as he shared with me that Moishe called him and explained to him that it was not a cultural decision but whether or not my friend was willing to open his heart to that Jewish baby that God sent so that people of all cultures and backgrounds could know God and experience His forgiveness and peace.

    He went on to tell me that Moishe prayed with him and he accepted Y’shua. Several years later my friend went home to be with the Lord and I can imagine the Holy One holds the old and new in perfect tension in a bright and beautiful future.

  17. I knew Moishe as Martin since 1959 when he came to our apartment in Venice, Calif. to nurture this new believer. He was a faithful servant that never gave up the goal the Lord entrusted to Him and will never be forgotten for his love for those that were considered “outsiders” by many, as he had a special love for those who needed his touch. We used to go on the Berkeley campus and give out the broadsides; an experience I will never forget, as well as all the times our family enjoyed his famous barbeques. Moishe is someone we will never forget and many will continue his unique style of evangelism as he set the pace.

    In the background, but very much a partner is Ceil who in her quiet way prayer for him and the ministry, as well as entertained all those that Moishe invited to the house. She also considered this a ministry that Moishe so appreciated. We thank you Lord for this wonderful friendship which will be continued in Heaven soon.

  18. Cynthia Rydelnik

    Dear Ceil and family,
    I have been so touched going through the tribute to Moishe. I was a part of ABMJ in Coney Island, Brooklyn, serving with Hilda Koser from 1972 through 1977, and then serving with Eleanor Bullock from 1977 through in Jamaica Queens and Valley Stream, Long Island. Seeing the picture of Moishe with the members of the Coney Island mission brought back so many wonderful memories.

    Moishe was truly a pioneer, and a wonderful servant of Yeshua whom I greatly respected. I’m thankful to the Lord for His love and care for you and your family for these many years, and for your devotion to each other as you labored together for Christ. He will be greatly missed by the thousands whom he ministered to, whether in person, through his writings, through his teaching in churches, camps and wherever he went. God is calling home so many who have been the spiritual lions of the Boomer generation and the generations that followed. Can the coming the Lord be ever closer than before? May we who remain to fight the battles be inspired and encouraged to persevere and remain faithful to our calling and commitment to the Lord Jesus Christ for such a time as this.

    I offer you my heart-felt condolences and prayers that our Savior will strengthen, encourage, comfort and give you His great peace – John 14.

    Until we all meet at the feet of Jesus,
    Cynthia Rydelnik

  19. Marianne Connolly

    I cried through the whole letter and I cried the minute I read about his death. I don’t know why he and his letter touched me so deeply. I didn’t know him, but I love him. I’m sorry he’s gone, but elated that he’s with the Lord.

    Marianne Connolly

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