God sets the lonely in families, he leads out the prisoners with singing…Psalm 68:6

I used to wonder what God meant by setting “the lonely in families.”  As a fatherless only child of an only child, my family was pretty small. Besides my mother, I had one set of grandparents and two great aunts who were all really old when I was born, like 65, I think. As I journeyed into adulthood, they all had a way of dying off (when they were really, really old). Eventually, I married and had three children of my own so I do have my own family but I think God was thinking of something else when He inspired David to pen these words. Jesus must have been thinking along the same lines when He said, “Who is my mother and who are my brothers? Whoever does the will of my Father in heaven are my brother and sister and mother.” (Matt. 12:48-50)

Enter the Bramson Tour. Going on the Bramson tour to Israel is like going on one big family vacation, complete with our own Jewish mother, Leslie. We traveled together, ate together, and even got nagged a little. “Family, don’t sit in the same place on the bus!” (Name withheld to protect you-know-who).   We prayed together, laughed together and by the end we all felt like family, just like you-know-who, I mean Leslie, said we would.

In my own very, very small biologic family, my great aunt told stories about her parents, life on the Kansas farm, and the great flood of 1902.  I never met her parents (my great grandparents) but I feel like if I met them now, I would know them by heart. A visit back to my ancestor’s farm would add a whole new dimension to my family history.  Going to Israel is sort of like this. It’s like going home to visit the places that we hold in our heart but have never seen with our eyes.

“This is where Jesus prayed before his crucifixion.”

“This is where Elias met with the prophets of Baal.”

“Here is the valley where David fought the Philistines.”

“This is the city of Magdela (which, by the way, has just recently been unearthed).”

“There is the city of Jericho.” (We just passed by since it is controlled by the Palestinians. Enter it at your own risk. Sorry, no photos taken.)

“Here is a boat that could have been used by Jesus and his disciples on the Sea (Lake) of Galilee.”

“Where’s the bathroom?” (Oops, how did that get in there? But I did warn you this was a family vacation, didn’t I?)

So, if you are wondering if a trip for Israel is for you, think of it as a big family vacation back to the land of your ancestors. “…those who have faith are children of Abraham.” (Gal 3:7)

Only Israel will feel like home.

Geneva Chinnock


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