Not only did I experienced Israel, but experienced the presence of God in Israel. The overwhelming sites and the biblical scenes revived me and renewed my faith.
How could I ever forget His sweet presence warming my heart while I sang praises to my King standing in the boat in the Sea of Galilee? The waters rocked the boat in silent praise and my soul found rest!
How can words describe walking into the waters of the Jordan River? There, I experienced the most incredible feeling of intimacy with God. In a moment I felt His touch and His love all at once and I just wanted to love Him back. The words “I am my beloved and my beloved is mine” became my words. The moment will be forever part of me…. profound…. sacred. My beloved took my breath away!
From this moment on my heart dictated my actions. The indescribable feeling of wonder, the desire to worship and adore my Lord was not to be denied. I am so grateful that the next stop provided me with the opportunity to do just that while I sang “How Great is My God”… for all will see how great is my God! Peace covered and surrounded me like a blanket and I fell to my knees in adoration.
The sights of Massada recount the magnificence and splendor of nature blended with history, the Dead Sea telling a story of its own…. Yet, nothing compares to the feeling of finally seeing Jerusalem. My heart burned within me. Seeing the streets of Jerusalem by night, bursting with the emotions of the Shabbat… people coming and going, families by the hand… children running…. The Wailing Wall surrounded by women of all ages chanting, praying, their bodies rocking back and forth. I took it all in and I hurt for them and for those lost in the darkness. As I receded from the Wall, walking backwards in reverence of the moment…, I prayed for peace and I was thankful for receiving the Messiah.
Walking into the Upper Room and feeling God’s power was one and the same. God’s power and anointing shook my very being. His Word given to us as we stood there reminded me of promises that will come to pass. With tears running down my face, my lips spoke His language…just as He had promised… His power and manifestation are evident 2,000 years later.
Bethlehem made me sort of sad. For in the little place of Bethlehem I smelled religiosity. I know His humble birth and I am thankful for my heart is truly His manger. Later, as I stood worshiping in St. Anne’s Church, my name took a new meaning, for according to tradition Ana was Mary’s mother. Sitting in a rustic bench we sang Halleluyah! And once again my heart busted in gratitude. As I remained seating there a prayer was born from deep within my heart for my friends and family back home… and I smiled as me and God shared a secret….
Walking the streets of Old Jerusalem, watching the people rushing by their ordinary day, made me part of their history. Down the Via Dolorosa, I was in awe as I walked through the city gates where my Lord walked 2,000 years ago. Just as Psalm 125 says: “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds his people both now and forever”. His promise is mine!
Standing up in the Mount of Olives, overlooking the city of Jerusalem, I joined Him as I wept in a cry for mercy for His people. The magnificent view clouded by my tears, a sob breaking deep within me.
How special and fitting was to end our tour at the Empty Tomb. I wanted to laugh and dance of joy for the Tomb is empty. This time I had tears of joy and while I sat by myself outside the tomb I sang: “My chains are gone, I’ve been set free. My God, my Savior has ransomed me. And like a flood, His mercy reigns, unending love…. Amazing grace….” There I confessed once more my love for Him as I shared communion and remembered all He has done for me. His sweet voice within my heart promising me a new beginning, He is my place of rest. In what other way can I thank Him, but to lay my life at His feet in total surrender?