I am currently sitting in my hotel room in the middle of the old city of Jerusalem. A 5-minute walk from the Wailing Wall and the famous Dome of the Rock. I still can't believe I'm here. I'm blown away. Overwhelmed would definitely be the word to describe my feelings over the past 5 days or so.
We have spent a couple FULL couple of days touring and another day doing team presentations. The first day we walked down to the Western Wall and the Dome of the Rock. Both of these I found myself thinking, am I really seeing this with my own eyes? Later we went to the Garden of Gethsemane and one of the possible sites of the crucifixion and tomb. The olives trees in the garden were unbelievable. They are literally the same ones that Jesus prayed under at one of His lowest points before He was arrested. I was able to spend some time reflecting on my future and the uncertainty before me. My prayer is that it is NOT my will but rather His will that is done. Just as Jesus went into the Garden not knowing what would happen but asking His Father that His will be done, that is how I feel as I enter into this new phase of life. And I pray that as I seek Him for direction and guidance that I will be strengthened just as Jesus was (Luke 22).
Ok...thoughts on the possible crucifixion site. I will say that being here is reminding to focus on Him only. Not the outward appearance. It is disappointing though. The church that is built on top of the place it happened is so ornate (candles, chandeliers, paintings, mosaics, etc). It's not who Jesus is or what He represents. It's a little sickening and very hard to focus on what actually happened. It reminded me of the many Buddhists temples I've been in over the past few months. It doesn't at all show the humility and simplicity of our Savior. It made me mad. BUT, in the midst of it all, as I was looking and listening for His voice, He spoke. I cannot focus on the darkness and obvious disappointing scene but rather I should fix my eyes on Him and what He went through. The possible tomb (which was in the same church) was just as disappointing. But, again He spoke and reminded me that He is NOT there. I was reminded of the good news that He has risen and He lives and dwells EVERYWHERE. We can celebrate because He is not in that tomb anymore.
In Israel, it's very easy to be put off by the millions of churches built over the famous sites. But, that is religion. Israel is filled with it. SO many people believe that our God is confined to religion. But, He is not confined. And because of this I am not confined to religion or a "box" that so many people are in. But, I have this amazing power and strength living inside of me. And you know what blows me away? The power that raised Jesus from the dead is the SAME power that lives inside of me. Holy crap.
Ok, wow. I could go on and on. But mainly I am OVERWHELMED. Here I am, in the center of the world, walking the same places Jesus walked. This is His land. His chosen country and people. This is where He walked and where one day He will come back. He is alive NOW and I am am so blessed to have the opportunity to seek His face among this land that is rich with history and prophesy of what is to come.