Great is your Faithfulness

Israel Prayer Team

By Tim Swedberg Israel Prayer Team

Israel Prayer team
Team members sing “How Great Thou Art” while visiting the region where the miracle of the bread and fish took place.
Often important events in our lives aren’t realized until we reflect on them. Days before we left for our much-anticipated trip to Israel, I visited my mom in the nursing home. During the visit, we talked about the trip. Before leaving, I hugged her, told her I loved her, and promised to see her when I returned. As it turned out, there will be a delay in keeping that promise.

On Friday, our trip began in Magdala, Capernaum and the Sea of Galilee. That day, I heard of Mom’s hospital admittance but was encouraged to hear that, with antibiotics, recovery was expected. We offered to come back right away but were told by the family to wait and see how the antibiotics worked.

Saturday was a “Sabbath Service,” after which I talked with Mom on the phone, relating the previous days’ trip to the Sea of Galilee. While there, we looked out over the sea and sang “How Great Thou Art.” I was unaware that this would be the last time I talked with Mom. Sadly, her health suddenly took a downward turn. Consulting with our kids, my two sisters, and the doctor, we came to an agreement that mom would have wanted us to stay in Israel for the remainder of our trip. The truth that I would not see my mom again until heaven hit me hard.

On Sunday, we traveled to Jerusalem. The place I found the most moving was the prison under Caiaphas’ house where Jesus sat abandoned, beaten, isolated, deserted, and lonely awaiting his execution. The awareness that Jesus did all of this for me brought a heaviness to my chest. Just outside the prison, in Caiaphas’ courtyard, is a metal sculpture that portrays Peter’s denial of Jesus. It depicts a Roman soldier looking on, Peter kneeling in front by a wood fire, and the servant girl next to Peter asking him that infamous question, “Aren’t you one of His?” Peter’s facial expression was caught perfectly as he said, “I do not know him.” Even at his lowest point, God was still FAITHFUL to Peter. It reminded me of my sinful nature, and I found myself praying, May that never be me. Yet, if God was FAITHFUL to Peter, He would be FAITHFUL to me too. That day, it became all the more real to me that this empty tomb was a place to celebrate our victorious Savior.

Team at Galicantu
Sitting in the cell of Galicantu, team members learn of Jesus’ last night as a prisoner.
As the day wound down, we made our way back to our host home in Karmiel. I received the news that evening that my mom had passed. The love and emotional support I felt from my wife, Marilyn, the team, and our gracious hosts and friends, Batel and Moshe, will never be forgotten.

After this life-changing trip, experiencing the death of my mom, and seeing where Jesus walked, I have come to this conclusion: You, Oh God, have been faithful to the Jewish people, my mom, and to all your children. Oh God, How Great is Your FAITHFULNESS!

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