Last month we showed you a bit of Moishe’s soon-to-be-completed biography. This month, we offer you excerpts from a deeply difficult episode of the Rosens’ lives so that you can get a glimpse of how God brought them through:
In late summer of 1961 the couple [Moishe and Ceil] were surprised to find out that Ceil was pregnant. Originally they had talked about having four children, but Ruth’s severe illness at birth had confirmed that additional pregnancies would exacerbate the RH incompatibility and result in fetal death. Now, despite conscientious birth control, Ceil was expecting. She could tell by comparing it with the other pregnancies that something was wrong. Moishe kept reassuring her that everything would be okay, but early in her eighth month, she went into labor and their little boy was stillborn.
In describing the experience decades later, Moishe said:
Both of us went numb. I backslid. I didn’t run around and get drunk. I didn’t do anything different at all. It’s just that I emotionally shut down. I threw myself into the work. I stopped praying. I didn’t read the Scripture. When it came to sensing any presence of God, I was just numb. But the day after [the baby died] I preached in two different churches.
“Here’s the surprise: that [backslidden state] lasted most of that year, and it was [a] most successful year in ministry. I prayed in public like I had always prayed. I preached what I had always believed. But I didn’t have any strength, or to use the Yiddish word, coyach. It was like sleepwalking. I just went from one thing to another… Everything became a duty that I did well.
“Then something happened, I became spiritually awakened… I feel that God reached down and lifted me. I feel that the many achievements were just due to the fact that I did my duty. And God spoke through me, even though [for that period of time] I was not acquainted with Him.”
For Moishe, the tragic experience was the polar opposite of his joyous discovery of God’s care for him [as a new believer] in New Jersey, as God provided in ways he never would have expected. Having experienced such wonderful provision and protection, Moishe was stunned by the firsthand knowledge that truly terrible things not only can, but do happen even to those who trust God. He doubtless knew it intellectually, but now he knew it personally, and was shaken to his core.
There was no single event that reconnected Moishe’s emotions to his intellect, no particular revelation that restored his spirit. What he described as “God lifting me” others might call healing. Even so, he never again responded to an impending crisis by assuring himself or others involved that everything would be okay.