Thursday, April 5, 2018

Back Home Again

Now that I've been back in the United States for almost one week, I am just now adjusting back to the time zone and the jet lag is not a factor.  The past week has been a tough one, though, having to prepare for Good Friday, Easter Sunday, and dealing with the drastic weather change (85 plus in Israel to 13 above yesterday).  Like all good Midwesterners, I've adjusted and adapted.  I'm good - even the mini-cold that I came down with on Tuesday hasn't lingered.  

I wonder if that's because my wife has been making sure I'm taking the proper medications.  The other night I was a bit cold and shaky and I asked her if she would bring me a couple of Mucinex tablets to help curb the stuffiness.  She wondered why I didn't take them sooner as she brought the meds to me.  In truth, I was completely spent.  I took the tablets hoping that they would work.

I'm not certain they did anything.  In fact, my wife told me the next day that she had given me some of her menopausal vitamins by mistake.  Great.  At least, I'm not having any hot flashes, so I got that going for me, which is nice.

I've been thinking about the entire trip and how special it was.  I learned a lot about Italy and Israel.  If I were to point out to one thing that I learned above all others, it would be the physicality of Jesus and the disciples.  The hills they scaled were huge.  The distances they traveled between towns was noteworthy.  Scripture doesn't really tell us about how they were tired or how they made it from one place to another.  I would love to know how that went for them.  

Maybe my own physical condition impacted what I discovered.  My left hip and both of my knees have a mild arthritic condition - more than likely will need to be replaced in the near future.  The extensive walking I did during the trip had to impact how I saw the disciples dealing with their travel.  

Related to that, I'm ever more aware of the physical stamina Jesus needed to have just to get to Jerusalem.  If you read the text, Jesus was with his disciples in Caesarea Philippi, which is about 105 miles from Jerusalem.  After speaking with them about his identity, he set his sights on traveling to Jerusalem.  We could drive from there to Jerusalem easily in under two hours.  Walking the terrain that they had to walk would have taken them some time - perhaps five days or a week depending upon the stops along the way.  

I guess what it means for me is this - heading into the most difficult challenge Jesus would face, he had to be physical taxed already.  For me, the fact that he still did this when he could very well have been tired is important.  He didn't allow anything to stand in his way.  

Just knowing that is possible means even more because he never gave up on us.  He could have taken a different path at any step along the way, but he didn't.  I am so grateful for that and it makes me even more determined to not allow my own situation or condition get in the way of serving others.  

We may have to take a few painkillers along the way (or some vitamins), but knowing that the Lord is with us every step of the way matters.  It matters a lot.

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