I was rereading my spiritual father’s book, Seasons of Sonship: Invitation. In the introduction, Dr. Joshua Todd shares a story about getting baptized in the Jordan River, and the lead up to that moment in his walk of faith. The idea of a trip to Israel was planted in him right after his 20th birthday.
“I was in a time of prayer and committed the next twenty years of my life to serving the LORD by preparing for my call with everything I was and everything I had. . . . As I was praying, I felt my heart fill up with a new request from the LORD that He would allow me to visit Israel in my 40th year, twenty years later. Over the next 20 years, God did amazing things in and through me to instill the proper expectation for this mile marking trip. At the end of 2019, I planned a trip with my spiritual father and other sons and daughters to visit the Holy Land in March of 2020. Twenty years after my 20th birthday and 40 days after my 40th birthday, we left for Israel.” (Seasons of Sonship: Invitation, page 10)
I had the honor of being on that trip as a spiritual daughter. At the time, I had no idea what the trip meant to Dr. Josh or to the others that came too. There were 3 generations represented – sons and daughters, spiritual fathers, and even our forefather Dr. Don Lynch. Most had walked with Christ for years or decades longer than me. To them, the trip was the fruit of a long walk of faithfulness.
When I heard about the trip, I’d only been attending FreedomHouse for a few months. I barely knew anybody. I hadn’t read the whole Bible. When we left on the trip, I’d been saved for 8 months. My spiritual father had been preparing for a Holy Land trip for 20 years, and I signed up after 2 months of knowing about it. The trip meant something different for both of us, and truth be told, I think the trip meant and impacted each person in a unique way.
From the moment I signed up, I feverishly started to read the Bible. If I was going to go to the Holy Land, I wanted to have some foundation for the experience. I started reading the New Testament, and would finish all the way through to Revelation by the plane ride home from Israel. That trip made Scripture come alive.
Before it had been a book. But carrying it with me throughout the Holy Land, and walking where Jesus walked made the scripture come alive. I’d read it before, but after coming back Holy Spirit danced across the pages every time I fed on the Word.
What I didn’t know at the time was how much Israel would change my life. From the moment I stepped off the plane, I could feel the presence of the LORD everywhere we went. I’d travelled a lot in my life, and never experienced an atmosphere so pregnant with the sound of the ages – ancient markers seemed to cry out among its modern inhabitants.
Everywhere we went it felt like I received an impartation of Jesus’ heart, as if what He’d felt in each location had become part of the land. The Bible wasn’t just a collection of stories anymore. It wasn’t just proverbs and parables of wisdom to live by. No.
It was Truth. It was the inerrant Word of God.
After Israel, there was no way to go back to the way things used to be. I had such a fear of the Lord instilled in me that any part of my life that didn’t align with the Bible had to change. After Israel, the Word became truth I experienced and the truth made me free.
It didn’t happen overnight. But every single day, I got a little more healing. A little more freedom. A little more joy. A little more light.
Everything changes once you have the fear of the Lord in your heart.