I’ve only officially been in Israel for three days and I can already begin to sense the impact this place will have on my life.
Our first day here, we went to a church on Mount Carmel. We worshiped on the same mountain where Elijah challenged the 450 prophets of Baal to have their god send fire to prove he was real. Baal never did send fire. But when Elijah stepped out in faith and called upon God, God responded with fire.
We worshipped on the very mountain where God’s glory once fell in such magnitude that it’s still being talked about thousands of years later. The mountain Elijah himself once walked upon. The mountain where Elijah more than likely prayed on, meditated, and reflected on. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but I know that I didn’t expect to feel what I was feeling.
We then traveled to the city of Nazareth. The city that raised my Lord. My Jesus. The city where Jesus spent his adolescence, learning from his father in his father’s wood shop. Where Jesus spent his teenage years. Under the same sky where Jesus once looked up into at night as he prayed. I walked on the same ground that he once rested his feet upon. I’m not sure what I expected to happen, but I know that I didn’t expect to feel what I was feeling.
For the first time, the Bible was so close to me, yet felt so distant.
That night, I laid in bed and my mind began to wander as it so often does. Why was I not connecting? Why did God feel so far away in the very land he once resided in? As I drifted off to sleep, I heard God say, “you’re not disconnected.”
The next morning, I made the decision to believe that I’m not disconnected despite what I was feeling. I would not allow a lie to ruin my time here in Israel. I said to God that even if I never feel his presence here, I would believe that what he said is true. That I’m not disconnected.
That day, we went to the Sea of Galilee and as we sailed along the very waters Jesus once sailed, we began to worship. We sailed up to the hills where Jesus and his disciples spent most of their time ministering on. As the words to “Our Father” were being sung around me, I envisioned Jesus and his disciples on the hills. I saw the crowds running along the grass to see this Jesus they heard about. I saw Jesus and his disciples sitting together. Laughing together. Praying together. Suddenly, Jesus became so real. His presence came over me in a way I never experienced and I began to weep. I could no longer sing the words to the song. I couldn’t hold it back. I had suddenly been overcome with the love Jesus carried.
Throughout the rest of the day (which I will later blog about), I would begin to cry at the very thought of Jesus. He was suddenly so close. His presence so tender, yet invasive. His love so pure, yet passionate.
As I laid down to sleep, I realized that just 24 hours prior, I felt so far away from his presence. Now here I am, head on the same pillow just a day later with such an overwhelming sense of Him.
I asked God why I felt so disconnected in the first place. He gently responded with, “I needed you to know how my people feel. I am so close, yet they feel disconnected. Now you can show them how close I am because you felt it for yourself.” I realized that God was showing me the heart of his people here in Israel. Their land is rich with the history of our savior and those who came before him and still so many haven’t been shown how to connect with their Father.
The truth is, disconnection from God is just an illusion.
This day was a moment I will forever treasure. A moment that will forever leave a mark.
“I have loved you, my people, with an everlasting love. With unfailing love I have drawn you to myself.” Jeremiah 31:3
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