By Kristin Bonham
Last June I was able to spend a day on the beach with a friend from High School. Tami and I have stayed connected and shared many celebrations and sorrows over our 35-year friendship so whenever I get to see her it it’s like we’ve never been apart. About a week later, she emailed me with an invitation to join her on a trip to Israel for our 50th birthdays leaving on my actual birthday 3 weeks ago.
I didn’t really have a strong desire to visit Israel… I wanted to see all the places I’ve read about nearly my whole life, but I had no idea that the type of trip I ended up taking existed. It was so much more than a tour. It was full of historical & cultural context, physically challenging, it was immersion in the Living Word!
Many people have asked me, “what was my biggest nugget from the trip?” It was like going to Bible School in the Land where it all took place and reading the Word in 4D! I’m still processing all that God spoke to me in Israel and will for a long time. It’s hard to pick from all our travels so here are the ones I’m pondering today…
Sitting in a sheepfold reading of the Good Shepherd who is the Gate… When we are lost, he hears us, finds us and brings us back to him… protecting us at night so we can rest without fear.
Breakfast on the beach in Galilee after reading the account of Jesus meeting the disciples there. Jesus does all the work in repentance… he set the table of fellowship, found Peter and led him to repentance by asking him, “Do you love me?” The forgiver seeks us out and brings us back to him if we’re willing to be found.
Climbing down into a 3000 year-old Cistern to sing the Doxology after reading from Jeremiah 2:13 “My people have committed two sins: They have forsaken me, the spring of living water, and have dug their own cisterns, broken cisterns that cannot hold water.”
Hiking the Wilderness of Zin where God brought the Israelites out of Egypt and said “Will you marry me?” Will you choose me over everything in your lives? Will you put me first, will you come out of slavery into freedom? I thought about the Wilderness times in my life and I see now that God is asking me the same thing.
Exploring Ein Gedi where David hid from Saul and prayed, “Give me the feet for the path you’ve put before me.” God, let this be my prayer!
I’m overwhelmed by God’s great love for us. That he would come to earth as a human being and lead us back to himself. That he does all the work. Like the running father to the prodigal, mercy runs faster than judgment. That he busts down fences, opens doors and restores when we can’t see our way. God is not random, His Word is not random. The Old and the New are linked together so beautifully and I’m thankful He’s given me a new lens to see it!