453 photographs, desert dust on the bottom of my shoes and Jordan River water smuggled in my luggage were some tangible things I returned from my pilgrimage to God’s Country with. My mind however is full of real time locations that our Lord walked and worshiped our Great God. So many sights and wonders to behold among the droves of people bustling about. I wondered how I would comprehend all that I was experiencing. Like Mary, mother of Jesus, I began to treasure all these things in my heart.
Exact locations of actual events pertaining to Our Lord, Jesus Christ are impossible to predict but as our wonderful guide stated almost every day “We are in the area.” The area indeed! Thousands of years of wind, rain and weather have blown the terrain from place to place making it difficult to discern locations but new excavations are unearthing some wonderful realities related to Jesus. Many churches have been built over locations that have been decided upon by scholars and theologians as an approximate spot for various events.
Even though the city of Bethlehem and Jerusalem have changed, God has not! He still loves that land and the people. He is still in the business of offering salvation to those who will accept it by faith through Jesus. He is still going to return one day to that very spot! Every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord!!
It was my impression along with many others that God doesn’t really want us to know the exact location of these precious moments of Jesus life for fear we might become idolatrous towards them. It was enough to know we were in the area.
Over the years my family and I have often found the need to travel to large metropolitan cities to experience the wonders tucked within. Sometimes it is a sporting event or a child’s field trip or educational opportunity that takes us to these heavily populated towns. Often driving ourselves we have noticed that no matter how close you may be to your destination it doesn’t necessarily mean you are going to get there soon. More times than not, we have found ourselves within yards of our hotel entrance or parking area only to be held up by traffic lights and people crossing, blocking the last few feet to arrive at our desired location. It could be maddening at times so my husband started an expression we still use today when we travel. When our destination is in view but our access is denied he will simply state “So close and yet so far”. We all laugh and try to relax while we wait to proceed. It has become our own little family funny!
Since I have just returned from the real “God’s country” (Israel), I was overwhelmed with emotions that will take weeks or months to put into comprehensive thoughts. One evening after an eventful day of sightseeing our guide, Jewell Barrett asked us to reveal what had impressed us so far. My feelings were of the people that were bustling around in this city of Bethlehem that our Lord Jesus was born in. Most were Muslims, Palestinians or Jews. Only a few were Christians. It struck me that God must be so grieved by the droves of people that populate this Holy Land and how few realized how truly Holy it is. They are all busy trying to get the tourists to buy their wares or stopping to the Muslims “call to prayer” 5 times per day projected through very loud speakers from poles positioned throughout the city. The Muslims are a devout group who are serious about their faith. They, however, are very aware of the opportunities to make money from the unsuspecting Christian tour groups.
A stark reality came took up residence in me, all of these people were “so close and yet so far” from what God intended for His people. The people He loves the people He sent His Son to die for!!!! Every day in Bethlehem seemed to be a day of law following people who were right in the midst of the most incredible territory rich in scriptural history and yet most didn’t have any obvious reverence for it. Just going about their business worshiping their false gods not realizing how very close indeed they were to the one and only Savior of the world, Jesus Christ!
What mercies God has poured out on us who believe!!! We have the Holy Spirit in us! It was eye opening and life changing to witness first hand.
Traveling to the Holy Land is more than one can imagine. The sites are consistently spectacular. Our guide, Rev. Jewell Barrett has been here 23 times! His working knowledge of the history of Jesus’ life is superb. As we travel from place to place he is a fountain of information that never ends. Bro. Barrett is from Possum Trot, KY but feels at home in this sacred place. He feels it is his calling from God to reveal the life of our Lord in and around Jerusalem. Already the wisdom that has been shared is overwhelming.
Just a few things we have experienced so far… An unforgettable prayer session on the peak of the mount of olives, the garden of Gethsemane, The Wailing wall, the dungeon Jesus was held in before going to the cross, Herod the Great’s coliseum on the Mediterranean Sea, Jordan River where Jesus was baptized. We are in Nazareth for the next two days with as they celebrate Easter.
God has sent me on divine assignment. A few short weeks ago it became clear that my husband and I would be traveling to the Holy Land. For those of you who wait patiently for my posts I apologize for my absence the last two weeks. Since I am the wife and mother of our home I went from my daily activities to preparing to travel half way around the world in less than two weeks! You ladies out there can relate to what I am saying!
In my walk with God he has sent me on more than one field trip. They are not always fun but a necessary part of growing in faith. For instance when my grandson was born with several health problems which required an extended stay in the NIC unit. I watched God grow my young daughter and her husband beyond any measure of faith they thought was possible. God used that difficult trip to show off his mercy and healing power through the prayers of this sweet couple. I witnessed a small helpless infant go from total life support to a completely healthy newborn in a matter of hours. I was standing on Holy ground right in front of that lifeless little boy when God sent his angels to heal him. I know it with all that I am. I felt the healing hand of God right there right then. The presence of God was so tangible I wondered if He had come to take our little angel home. I remember thinking “this feeling is so wonderful, if God takes this little man home I want to go too!
This field trip is a different sort of journey but I come expecting to sense God in powerful ways. In ways I haven’t know Him before. A new plateau of learning that I haven’t known before now. I will do my best to expose you to all we experience. My assistant at home has promised to post photos I provide. So, join me as we discover together what God has in store.