Fast forward 50 years to this past summer when I made the trip to Israel once again, this time with my wonderful husband and members of yet another incredible community, our Fellowship family. I wondered if all these years later I would remember the sites and feelings from my previous trip. Surprisingly, I did, but even better, the sweetness of my walk with Christ through the years and the assurance of the veracity of His Word were profoundly realized afresh as we visited the places mentioned throughout scripture. As I walked along the Sea of Galilee where Christ asked Peter, James, John, and Andrew to follow him, where he calmed the wind and the waves, and where he performed so many miracles, I struggled to comprehend how anyone could question the life of the One called Savior and Messiah. And after visiting Golgotha and the Garden Tomb that was found empty after the resurrection, there was such conviction and confidence that He is Who He says He is.
All these years later, this trip was even more rejuvenating to my faith than it had been the first time. But there was something even more profound during this trip. In a country where I was merely a visitor, I had never felt more at home. As the life of Christ and the stories of the Bible were affirmed in the places I visited, I felt a sense of peace and belonging. I felt welcome, like I was rooted in this foreign land.
I have given quite a bit of thought to these experiences and why this feeling of being rooted made such an impact on me. Numerous times throughout the Bible, this concept is mentioned. When we are rooted in Christ, we are told that the benefits include bearing fruit (John 15:5), being strengthened and overflowing with thankfulness (Col. 2:7), and beginning to understand the depth and breadth of God's love (Eph. 3:16-19). Conversely, when we are not rooted, not only will we not bear fruit, but we will lack the strength to withstand harsh circumstances.
So, when we are far from “home,” how do we emulate this feeling and root ourselves in Christ? I believe there are many ways to do so. We read, study, and hide His Word in our hearts. We pray. We serve. We become less so that He may become more in our lives. And as I alluded to earlier, we deepen our roots when we link arms in community with fellow believers who encourage and challenge us.