Exploring God’s promises in the Promised Land
BY BENNETT ROLAN | BSF BLOG EDITOR
S usie Rowan slipped her prayer request between the giant stones of Israel’s Western Wall. Taking a step back, God’s presence was almost overwhelming as she reflected on the history of that holy place. It represented the fullness of God’s plan: His faithfulness to Israel, His sacrifice on the cross and the final restoration still to come.
And there, Susie’s request rested safely, tucked in the wall.
“To know that Jesus would have also been right there,” Susie said, “I experienced His peace and presence, knowing that He heard, and He would answer those prayers. Not just for my good, but for the good of the whole, the good of many, which would also be for my good as well.”
As the executive director of Bible Study Fellowship, Susie has witnessed God’s amazing work in and through His people worldwide. But in 2011, Susie experienced the truth of God’s Word in a new way during her first visit to Israel on a BSF Trip.
“It’s something I wish every Christian could experience,” she said. “Maybe the most memorable site was Gethsemane. One of the olive trees was even thought to have been there at the time of Jesus. You live through His prayer and begin to feel the agony of anticipating the cross. It’s a very quiet time of reflection. Then you walk into the church, called the Church of Nations, on the Mount of Olives. People are just worshipping together, in so many different tongues and languages. It was an extraordinary experience.”
Leaving the church, the group stood and surveyed the Kidron Valley where Jesus walked and where David wrote in Psalm 125:2, “As the mountains surround Jerusalem, so the Lord surrounds His people both now and forevermore.”
“Your heart really does just soar,” Susie said. “You remember the promise that God has given us, that on the day that’s coming, the feet of Jesus are going to stand on the Mount of Olives and you’re standing there. It’s pretty powerful, pretty emotional.”
Throughout the trip, while worshipping on the Sea of Galilee, walking on ramparts surrounding the old city or praying at the possible site of Jesus’ crucifixion, familiar Scripture took on a deeper sense of reality.
“I really love cities,” Susie said. “I love their energy and their tension. I’m a city person, so walking through Jerusalem, feeling the Jewish, Muslim tension at the Dome of the Rock was pretty powerful. Thinking through what the future would look like, where a temple could be built to prepare the way for the return of Christ, was extraordinary.”
Entering the trip, Susie expected to learn from the experts leading the group. But she left with more than just knowledge. For Susie, God’s Living Word came to life in a new way. Since that time, Susie and Roger have already made a second trip to Israel with the BSF Travel Connection tour and are eager for the next opportunity God provides to return to His land.
If you’re interested in a trip to Israel, several BSF trips are available throughout the year. To learn more about a trip of a lifetime, check it out here.
Susie Rowan at The Western Wall
Roger Rowan on The Sea of Galilee
BSF Israel Tour Group