Twenty-two years ago I made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land of Israel. To say that I much anticipated my trip would be an understatement. Our group was relatively small, and our spiritual leader for the trip came prepared to guide us through the places that are significant to our Christian heritage. Years of Bible study had not prepared me for my first visual image as our bus wound its way up the curvy road toward Jerusalem. While “golden” is a relevant biblical color reference, the golden arches of a familiar fast food landmark are not what I expected immediately to see. But, there they were, and so my “Holy Land” experience began!

For a variety of reasons, the trip became a spiritual battlefield for me from the beginning. My dreams and expectations crashed at almost every holy site we stopped to visit. Because time will not allow a more detailed explanation, suffice it to say, I had a lot to learn not just about Israel but about myself and a critical spirit.

The kingdom of God begins in the heart, not in a physical location. In a couple of weeks, I am returning to Israel. On this trip, I’m asking God to give me His eyes to see deeply and lovingly the land where my Savior was born, lived, died and was raised to life again for all humanity. On my first trip I desired to go to Israel and be blessed; now, I go and pray that I might be a blessing because of Jesus in me.

Friend, Israel and the people of Israel are eternally important to God. I ask for prayer for our group who will be there from May 2 through the 11th for safety, and to reflect the love of Jesus Christ, wherever our feet take us. You and I are His ambassadors in every land and nation; for this reason, we are always standing on holy ground.

Sherry Sharp