Being & Building Followers & Friends of Jesus
We flew back from Tel Aviv on Saturday. I got to my house about 2 pm, took a shower, and was asleep on the sofa in front of the Saints/Sea Hawks game by 3 pm. Believe it or not, I slept until 3 am and then dozed most of Sunday and even slept about 10 hours Sunday night. I knew I was tired, but that was incredible.
I've traveled to Israel before (this was my fifth trip), and I've been blessed enough to have at least that many trips to Greece to visit the sites where Paul preached. I've been to Ephesus and I've been to Rome. In all of those trips, I've never come home so exhausted. Why? I can only come up with a few thoughts (and none of them are based on meing getting too old to travel!).
(1) Traveling through Israel is different from traveling to any other holy lands. They're all amazing, and seeing them make the Bible come to life in a three-dimensional way. But traveling through Israel is also personal and spiritual and emotional. I can't visit Israel without thinking of how God planned for me before time began, how He sent His Son for me, and how Jesus chose to take on my sin for me because I couldn't. That's emotional, and spiritually, and highly personal. Going to Israel is all about my relationship with Christ.
(2) Having the opportunity to go more than once allows the experience to become even more personal. In the first trips, I was just so overwhelmed and so amazed to be standing in the places where Jesus walked and preached and ministered, where Abraham walked . . . the Bible came alive for me. But it was so overwhelming, that I couldn't take it all in. This time, though, I had time to think and reflect, to feel and to grieve, to engage and process the totality of what Christ did.
I've heard adults say that they know everything in the Bible and are ready to study other things. I don't get that. We can know the stories, but not "know" in the deepest sense of the word what God is teaching us, what He has in store for us, what He has planned for the end of time.
I'm so grateful that God's given me the opportunity to be in Israel enough to be able to soak up His presence, to be able to dwell in His land, and to be able to continue to learn how to "know" Him.
If you've never had a chance to go to Israel, I encourage you to put that on the top of your prayer life. The Jews in Israel believe that no one comes there that God didn't bring and that no one leaves there without being changed. From my own experiences, I think they are right.