this is all a process.
Happy Canada Day to my fellow Canadians, and Happy almost-fourth-of-July to my American friends! As I sit here writing this post, I can't help but feel thankful for our country and this incredible place we call home. I LOVE my country so much, and am proud to be a Canadian citizen. This day always wells up inside of me a longing to go back to Ottawa or even Montreal, and celebrate from the capital. I quickly forget that it's not about where you're living, it's about what you're celebrating.
Exactly four weeks today I returned home from Israel, and I realized while I was there that I needed to share my story and my experience. I spoke a little bit about first impressions here, but it's taken quite a while for me to sit down, nurture the ideas in my heart, and come to some conclusions. I think maybe travelling in itself will do that for you - have you ever experienced that before? When we were in Israel, I assumed I would experience milestone moments with tears and heart-wrenching feelings, and while there were most certainly heart-wrenching moments, the emotions didn't really come. People have asked, "What was the best part?" and I think those moments sewn all together were the fabric of what made the trip so wonderful. There were highlights for sure, don't get me wrong, but the fact that everything built on everything else, and God showed himself throughout conversation, sights and sounds rather than BOOMING moments was perhaps the most important thing I've come to reflect on.
As we travelled around the Sea of Galilee and Tiberias and the northern region of Israel, we kind of shifted from Old Testament roots to New Testament people, and got a grasp for where Jesus and the disciples travelled - on the sea, on the shores, in Nazareth where Jesus was raised. These sights made the Bible and verses in it come alive with new perspective. But, beyond that, I came to realize a distinct thing: the lives of these men were not "one and done" lives. They weren't instantaneously holy when they encountered God, nor were their lives ever truly perfect. Their lives in and with Jesus were a process.
That's what it comes back to. These men walked and talked and breathed alongside Jesus and kept gathering the moments and building blocks that sewed together to form the fabric of a Kingdom-called life before God. These moments were NOT by any means all peaks and ecstasy filled, but in fact hard and terrifying and sad sometimes. Heck, Peter denied Jesus three times and he was one of his closest friends (Read Luke 22 if you're not sure what I'm talking about). I'm positive they had great moments too, so it was this beautiful combination of the often unknown of living a life before God, and the starburst moments of knowing His providence in times of rich love and mercy that came together to form the lives of these men that lived in Israel.
So, the trip was a process, and so is reflecting on it and so are our lives. Faith in God is a process, not defined by quickie moments where we can just come to God then shut Him out. It's like a builder, continually building on the many parts of what contribute to a wholesome relationship with God. That looks like something different for each person, because we're all on a different part of the process. Some of us are just learning what it looks like to know God, others are years into a deep personal relationship and some of us don't want anything to do with God. Some of us don't know who God is or have a hard time seeing how He could ever come through for us. Through all of that, whatever your point in the process is, you're on it and you're moving, and in the words of Mat Marquez, God is placing chess pieces on your board farther ahead than you could ever fathom for a point in time that you will come to one day.
With that, I leave you with some of my favourite photos of our trip. If you want to see the entire album, head here.
thanks for reading!