I took a trip of a lifetime last week. I traveled to the one place that my heart ached for; Israel. I thought writing a blog about the trip would be a breeze, but if I’m being honest, I can’t begin to put into words the experiences and life changing moments I encountered while I was there. So instead, I’m going to share one experience at a time.
Before the trip, I had a picture in my head of what I would see and how it would make me feel. I thought I would be knocked off my feet by the history and land. Needless to say, at the end of the first day, I sat in my hotel room totally disappointed that the city felt much different than what I had pictured. Where were all these emotional feelings I thought I would have? I quickly realized my expectations weren’t aligned with truth. This city has been modernized. It’s 2,000 years later, of course it has. They holy sites are filled with tourists attractions, bus stops and jammed packed with people. My mind was cluttered. It was time for a new approach.
I spent that evening, with the help of my roommate, researching the next day’s plan and reading in the Word. I brought my Bible with me – reading scripture as I stood in the places where all of these stories and miracles took place. It was almost as if God was saying, “Sweet child, you must seek me during this trip to really see the land and have the moments with me that you are so longing for.” GAME CHANGER. I was a total wreck the remainder of the week. My entire world was rocked. My heart and desires, completely altered.
This is where my miracle comes into play. On the second day, we visited Caesarea Philippi. Please know, I am far from a Biblical scholar, so what I understand from this place may not be completely accurate. Don’t hold it against me, because I’m going to share what I know.
Caesarea Philippi is a limestone bedrock that is known for being a place where people once worshipped Greek gods. Its location is close to the source of the Jordan River and was considered the gateway of the underworld. It was here that Jesus approached his disciples, asking them who they believed He was. Peter acknowledged that Jesus was the Messiah. After that, Jesus basically laid down the law, telling Peter that he was going to build His church on this rock. I’m guessing it was Jesus’ way of saying, “No more of this worshipping other gods stuff, people.” I’m confident that there is a lot more to this story and land, but what I took away from here was powerful.
I stood there, looking at the niches (the carved out spaces for the gods) and guilt washed over me. I walked away from my group and stood on steps that date back to Jesus’ time. Knowing He stood right there, I wholeheartedly prayed that God would free me from all idols I have in my life. Idols that seem “okay” in this culture. Idols that, before being in this place, I wouldn’t have even considered idols. As crazy as it may sound, I felt my entire body tingling. I bawled my eyes out, knowing that God knew my heart and freed me. I’m back in Dallas and have an entirely new perspective on life. It’s that simple. Maybe it’s hard to understand, but my heart changed in that moment. I finally understood my purpose. I am the only “me” in this world. God has been trying to reveal that to me for a very long time. It doesn’t matter what this world provides for me. It doesn’t make an ounce of difference if I have nice things, a ton of friends or get married. It matters that I am making the most of my days, using the spiritual gifts God has given me to bring glory to Him. He didn’t bring me to Israel to feel good or get more out of this life for ME, He brought me there to ensure I came back with the mission of bringing more of HIM to others. So that’s the new game plan. I’m all in and I can’t wait to see how God plans on using me.