Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: TRIP (10/18/18)
- TITLE: A World Away
By Ken Grant
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My perception of Israel as a desert was initially challenged as we began our time in the country in the north. Traveling to Dan, at the very tip of Israel, and seeing the Jordan river, much closer to its source in Mount Herman, as it wend its way through lush trees, I understood the beauty of the land that God had blessed his people with. My faith was strengthened as I captured just a glimpse of the wonders that God has available for those who put their trust in Him. By the time we reached the Galilee region, I was looking forward to exploring the area where Jesus spent so much time with those closest to him.
Seeing the Sea of Galilee, I was reminded of Lake Tahoe in California where I had vacationed in the past. It was clearly a place where everyday people lived and worked and raised their families. Venturing out on the lake, I could imagine Jesus with the disciples as they learned about life, trust, and faith in a place where many of the disciples had spent their entire lives. I could relate to how the tranquil water could quickly turn and become dangerous and how even a seasoned fisherman could be thrown into a state of terror and cry out wildly. The thought of Peter following his Lord's example in walking on the water became extremely impressive to me in that moment.
The crowning jewel of our time in Israel was the city of Jerusalem. I imagined a renewed city on a new earth where all of God's people will dwell in his perfection. Now, though, we encountered a very human city, filled with the turmoil of many generations of strife, faith, and challenge. The city felt old, but at the same time alive. Seeing the various quarters of the city and taking in the rich diversity all around was overwhelming. When we saw the steps leading up to where the temple once stood and realized that Jesus had walked on these steps, it made the biblical history come alive in a unique and powerful way.
There were so many significant events. Seeing the garden where Jesus prayed and the tomb from which Jesus emerged on the third day, gave me hope that my faith is in more than this life. The opportunity to affirm my faith through baptism in the Jordan river, where Jesus was baptized by John and where so many others were baptized as well, made me part of a chorus of the faithful that will go on long after this world has passed away. Leaving Jerusalem for Tel Aviv and then the trip home to my everyday life, I was the same and yet different. My experience had changed me in ways that I would realize only many years afterwards. My trip to the promised land was both a trip back in history and a look forward to an everlasting hope that will never die.
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