I think I was numb the first two days in Israel. I was observing, taking notes, listening… but none of it was making it’s way from my head to my heart. I was suprised that I didn’t have a more emtional response. I kept thinking, “This is so cool.” But my prayer had been for more than just eyes to see. I prayed for a heart to understand and be overwhelmed with my God.

We moved from the desert to the region of Galilee after dusk. Our trip planner was very tricky in that regard. Matt was all about giving us amazing payoff for waiting, hiking, driving. The end of the road always held something to make the journey more than worth it.

We woke up the following morning, walked out the door and found ourselves less than 50 feet from the shore of the sea of Galilee. Um. Amazing.

But yet again, the intellectual side of me was soaking in facts and images but my heart wasn’t letting anything in. It was more than frustrating.

And then after a short drive the bus pulled over and my heart caught in my throat. What I was seeing didn’t fit anywhere in my preconceived ideas about Israel.

I had pictured the desert with a few spatterings of trees.

I pictured the turmoil of Gaza.

I pictured something… well… something not beautiful.

I didn’t picture the Alps.

But that’s exactly the setting that appeared at the base of Mt. Arbel.

God taught me a lot on the mountain of prayer, but the biggest theme He shouted ALL the way to the hard-fought summit was quite clearly:


Why WOULDN’T you think that the Promised Land would be the most beautiful place in the world?!

I’m guilty of doubting that God’s promises are good.

Oh. That’s so sad and so disheartening to say… but the way that I spend time worrying or fearing proves that fact. I don’t always trust that His good is going to really BE good. In my mind, my good is the best that I can think and dream up. So in the case of Israel, the Promised Land that God gave His people was a nice desert with a few flowers.

And yet, as my eyes can now attest, Israel is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been in my entire life. It’s Hawaii and Ireland and the Rockies and Switzerland and East Texas and Arizona and everything in between. It’s astounding in beauty.

Why would I expect the One who promises good things to be stingy with the inheritance for His people?

My pastor, Scott Brown, taught about God’s promises in a recent sermon and said this:

“God is never late, never lies, has boundless resources, and always has His children’s best at heart.”

His timing is not our timing.

His ways are not our ways.

His promises are SO good.

“Faith is believing or trusting a person, and its reasonableness depends on the reliability of the person being trusted. It is always reasonable to trust the trustworthy. And there is nobody more trustworthy than God…”

-John Stott

Amen? Amen.

Friends, there is no one more trustworthy than God. Whatever is keeping you up at night, turn it over and trust that His good IS good.

Every single good promise that the LORD had given the nation of Israel came true.

(Joshua 21:45, GWT)

Following and trusting,

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  • Catching up on my much-neglected google reader feed here and came across this post finally. Ginger… Arbel was my favorite place in Israel for so many of the same reasons. We are so quick to dream up our own stories and form our own plan that we don’t leave room for God to provide in ways that are so much greater. Like any girl, I have romantic imaginings of wonderful moments with someone that I adore. Specifically, in fields of flowers with breezes and sunshine. Last year, when we were on Arbel I found myself there crying out, “LORD. I can’t change my heart. You have got to change my heart to one of contentment. I simply CAN’T do it for myself.” Then I looked around and I realized that I was sitting in a better picture of my romance than I ever could have imagined. The Lord brought me to Arbel to give me a picture that his romance is far greater and far more satisfying than any fairy tale I can conjure. Not only was I sitting in a beautiful field of flowers, but this field was atop a mountain… overlooking a striking blue sea, with hills all around. The day was perfect, and no person (however well-intentioned they may be) could create a moment like that for me. Only the one who hold the heavens and earth in his hand and chooses to love ME could. 

    • “Then I looked around and I realized that I was sitting in a better picture of my romance than I ever could have imagined. The Lord brought me to Arbel to give me a picture that his romance is far greater and far more satisfying than any fairy tale I can conjure.”

      -Mmmhmmm. So good! I love how the Lord uses His creation to shout the truths we are sometimes reluctant to believe. I’m finding everyone has a different story to tell about Arbel. What a special place!

  • Christina

    I am loving it too. I want to go!

  • Ginger, I am loving reading this posts about our Israel trip! Thanks so much for your honesty and transparency. It’s nice to see the Land through your eyes.

    • Thank you for sharing the Land and text through your eyes every day in Israel!

  • -m

    Amen and amen!!