Late last summer I started noticing that the things I was seeing, reading, and hearing were often on the topic of taking a trip to Israel. God seemed to be tapping my shoulder trying to get my attention.
For years Tom has wanted to go see the Holy Land. The problem was that he wanted me to go too. Needless-to-say, it’s not the adventure a girl with a fear of traveling seeks. However, I couldn’t deny all the signs that I was seeing. Clearly, I was being encouraged by the Spirit to take a trip to Israel.
My past reluctance to taking the trip had nothing to do with being in a foreign country. It’s always been the matter of getting from point A to point B. Whether it be by car, or plane, traveling causes me to have unwanted anxiety.
I delayed telling Tom about these received notions in hopes that I was hearing God wrong, yet I knew I wasn’t. When fear was replaced with what could almost be described as excitement, it confirmed it was time to say yes. Tom was both surprised and thrilled with this news.
A few short months later, after having made our deposit for the trip, I was reading a Bible devotion to Macy and Cam. The devotion took us to the Book of Acts where I was reading about the apostle Paul’s final trip to Jerusalem. We were moving forward in the story and came upon this verse: “And now, compelled by the Spirit, I am going to Jerusalem, not knowing what will happen to me there.” -Acts 20:22
“Wow!” I said to the kids. “This sounds like me and Papaw. Led by the Spirit, we’re taking a trip to Jerusalem too, and…we don’t know what will happen either!”
An onset of questions began.
How far away is it? How long does it take to get there? How will you get there?
I answered each question then Macy said, “But Grandma, you have a fear of traveling and Papaw has a fear of heights!”
I continued reading, “I only know that in every city the Holy Spirit warns me that prison and hardshisp are facing me.” -Acts 20:23
Macy and Cam’s eyes widened, their mouths dropped open, worry and concern were written on their faces. They asked if me and Papaw would we be put in prison too.
Honestly, in that moment I was wondering the same thing. God’s most chosen method for speaking directly to us is through His Word. My excitement quickly turned to fear once again. What hardships might we face? Would we be imprisoned? Was this a warning not to go?
I couldn’t read the rest of the story to the kids. They didn’t need to hear that Paul would never be seen again. For that matter, neither did I.
Despite Paul receiving dismal warnings from the Spirit about going to Jerusalem, he did not fear, but went on with his journey. Could I do the same?
The Bible repeatedly tells us to have no fear, but then, it tells us to fear the Lord. (Proverbs 19:23; Isaiah 44:8)
It’s unlikely that we’d be confined to any prison cell, but hardships come in many forms. Even in the form of confining yourself to a seat…on a plane…high in the air! The choice of which fear would control our decision was up to us.
Paul’s first intimate encounter with Jesus took place on the road from Jerusalem to Damascus. The tour group we’d be traveling with is taking the same road. Going to Israel is an opportunity to see Bible stories come alive. Perhaps like Paul, we too could have an awe-inspiring encounter with Jesus.
So, come spring we’re going to Israel! The girl with a fear of traveling is going to go and trek God’s Holy Land!