May you be blessed by Ruth Catron’s reflection on Oceans’ Israel trip:
I always wanted to take this journey to Israel, but logically and logistically the timing never seemed right. I’ve been a follower of Christ since the age of 10, knew of Him since I could understand the oral and written words of my godly parents, Sunday school teachers, and extended family and friends, yet the stumbling block for the Holy Spirit’s work was my mindset of logic. I truly believe the Bible and know in my heart that everything written there actually happened. Yet somehow in my own life, I “reserved the right” to judge the life-moments by the reality of life. If it didn’t make sense in my head, I found it difficult to comprehend. Thankfully, God decided to bring me to a place to pierce through this logical mind and draw me into His realm of amazing, God-logic-it took until age 60, eye-roll on my part!
I approached this trip to Israel with way too much logic, planning, packing, checking off my list, and ultimately, over-packing. I attempted to prepare physically, with the logical realization that it would be quite warm and my normal agility may be challenged in order to experience every site on the action-packed daily agenda listed on our itinerary. My one huge failure was to prepare the part of me that logic often can’t reach-my heart. So, with an excited expectation for what I would see, and a cautious expectation of what my body might go through, along with the knowledge that I was traveling with two amazing teachers of God’s Word, I walked on the airplane with my logic all intact.
I was not disappointed one bit as each day was filled to the brim and overflowing as our guide, Boaz Shalgi, shared the history of the land and our teachers of the Word, Tim Spykstra and Bryan Vander Tuig, opened the Bible at each place we visited. But, then I began to notice an unexpected miracle that my logic wanted to dismiss. I can’t tell you what day or on which site it began but that it happened several times. I do know that it was subtle, with me just thinking it was the logical thing to happen at the time on these very warm days and I thanked God each time for the refreshment He gave through it.
I specifically realized what God was orchestrating while on Mt. Carmel. Tim was sharing from the Word and from his heart from 1 Kings 18 and 19 about Elijah and the events on this mountain and thereafter. I’ve taught this story in my classroom for 20 years and knew it well. But as Tim was down on his knees before the Lord and us, and as my own heart was repentant like the Israelites after seeing God’s miracle of sending fire down on Elijah’s soaking-wet sacrifice, a strong wind came out of nowhere and refreshed our group. It was illogical that it was anything but a normal breeze, and yet God opened my eyes to see beyond my own logic and to realize His logic! His sovereign hand guides everything in this world, in my life, in the stories of the Bible, and He allows events that are beyond our logical comprehension. Yes, I knew these truths before. But, my heart and mind needed an unexpected, unplanned wind of His Holy Spirit to fall afresh on me, to put the logical me aside and let the fresh, cool breeze of the Holy Spirit flow over me as I laid aside my logical plans for my life, my limited, logical expectations for what God could do, the pride of my own abilities and knowledge, and then to allow Him to renew a right spirit within me.
In 1 Kings 18:39, the people of Israel fell face down and said, “The Lord, He is God!” Then my own heart fell down and said, “The Lord, He is God!” I will not limit God by placing my own logical expectations on Him. His ways are higher than my ways and His thoughts higher than my thoughts (Isaiah 55:8) even the winds and waves obey Him (Matthew 8:27). For some reason, I needed to travel all the way to Israel to get a glimpse of the unexpected and “illogical” ways of my Lord God. How I desire to daily look to my heavenly Father and declare, “The Lord, He is God!”