In December 2002, my husband, brother-in-law, and I embarked on a trip that would forever change my heart and mind: our first trip to Israel. Our tour itinerary was filled with visits to places all over the small country, places where Jesus had once been. Thinking back on it now, I don't even know that we realized the impact that trip would have on us.
Though there were ten buses in total on our tour, our tour guide warned us that there would be plenty of walking, and he hoped we'd brought solid walking shoes. Unfortunately for me, years of overworking my back made walking at any length quite painful, so this was hardly good news.
On day three of our ten day trip, I decided I'd had enough. The pain in my back was too much. I moved gingerly towards a bench in the darkened church where we had stopped.
“We're going to see the tomb, you coming?” My husband loomed over me, his brother beside him.
I shook my head. “My back hurts, I feel like I'm going to be sick.” His hand brushed over my head just before he headed off towards the rest of the group. I couldn't believe it. Here we were in the Church of the Holy Sepulcher and I was stuck sitting on a bench, suffering from the years of strain and toil I'd put on my back. Fighting back the tears that were sure to flow, I sat as straight as possible and watched the others from the tour bus meander through the church.
“Honey, you okay?” A dear woman who hailed from North Carolina sat down beside me.
“Oh, it's just my back. I'll be fine.” I took in a couple of deep breaths, hoping to grin past the pain, and dam up the emotional waterfall that was about to burst.
“Where's that handsome husband of yours, hmmm?” She smiled, a sweet southern smile.
“Oh, you know, he's off to see the tomb – and get into some mischief.” We both laughed, and the tears slipped back behind my eyes.
That night, I found myself in the lobby of the hotel talking with a young lady by the name of Mary-Kay. I told her of my decision that I was just going to stay in the hotels for the rest of the trip, unless one of the days provided a bus-only excursion, explaining the pain in my back was too great for me to go on.
“Would you like me to pray for it?” She asked simply.
“If you would, that would be great.” We both closed our eyes, and she put her hand on my back – in the very spot that hurt the most. Her prayer was simple, that God would heal my back so I could continue with the rest of the group on the trip. As she spoke, I felt a heat penetrate my back, and whatever pain I had been feeling was gone. I was healed.
I went to bed that night thanking God for the healing that had taken place in my body, hoping that maybe He'd take it a step further and allow me my sense of smell; apparently, the air in Israel carries a sweet scent. It doesn't hurt to ask.
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