I thought of the words to that children’s book that I once read to my girls as I walked the streets of Bethlehem, Nazareth, Capernaum and Jerusalem. Oh, the places you’ll go. A little girl growing up on County Line Road in Indiana, in a poor home with parents who at one time had been basically migrant workers. They couldn’t have dreamed back then that one day their daughter would have the amazing privilege of walking the land where Jesus once walked. I could barely have dreamed it myself!
But I did get to walk that land. As I said in my last post before leaving, I went with low expectations; I had no concept of what it would look like or feel like…or how it would touch my soul.
But touch me it did. I was often shocked at how deeply it touched me. I didn’t expect it because I’ve traveled a lot these past 12 years or so: India, Sierra Leone, South Africa, Mozambique and Zambia. (And have loved those places so much and have been so touched by the people in those countries.) But this was different somehow. I can’t adequately put it into words because I’m not even exactly sure why it touched me so much. For a few posts I’ll share some snapshot moments (in no particular order) that will live on in my memory for the rest of my life.
Sitting on the Sea of Galilee. We got out about half-way across the water and just sat there on the boat, reading together the story where Peter got out of the boat and walked on the water until he noticed what was happening all around him (wind, waves, and doing something that simply didn’t happen to a fisherman!) Then we shared with each other the places in our lives where we needed to get out of our boat and trust this all-powerful God to hold us up. I sat there, looking out at the water and the mountains all around, taking in the understanding that Jesus had once looked out at the very scene I was seeing – and I asked for greater faith than ever before to live a life of faith for Him.
Praying at the Western Wall. I’ve seen people praying at the wailing wall (as some have called it) a multitude of times and it was simply a place far, far away. But I was overwhelmed to tears as I wrote names on my piece of paper and pushed that paper into the crevice of one of the blocks in the wall. Today the names of those I love so much (my kids, my best friends’ kids, my granddaughter, family members, my church) are there with countless other names, put there by people who were crying out to God.
Baptizing in the Jordan River. It was cold, it was dirty, it was smelly…and it was worth it. John and I had the joy of baptizing people who love Jesus in the same river where He himself was baptized. It was unbelievable.
Oh, the places you’ll go…Thank you, Lord, for allowing this little girl from County Line Road to go where you once lived, worked and gave up your life so that I could live eternally. May my life be lived in thanks since my words can’t adequately express my gratitude. Amen.
(More next week.)