Shalom from Galilee. My feet ache. I need a nap. But dinner is soon. My soul, though, is refreshed, without a doubt.

Today was our second day of touring and we are exhausted. We’ve walked five miles each day already and seen several thousand years of history within a stop or two. From Solomon to the crusaders to Herod the Great…it all jumbles together from time to time. Today we slowed down, and our visits were unique — all first century –the times of our Savior:  Magdala, Tabgha, Capernaum, Bethsaida, and the Mount of the Beatitudes.

Our journey through Matthew’s Gospel is bringing a fresh light to how I see and understand everything on this trip. It has reinvigorated my thinking and my perspective. In Capernaum, I talked about Matthew — I would never have done that before. I’ll finish up about Matthew on Sunday from Mt. Arbel, the grand overlook of the Sea of Galilee and our last stop before heading south. We’ll take a look at the last half of Matthew 4…sound familiar?

This is the first trip in which I could see the power of a storm on the Sea of Galilee. We experienced it in Nazareth, actually. We went out to the Ridge for a view of the Jezreel Valley and didn’t get a view, but instead gone drenched. Not sure who insisted we give it a try, but they lost points for that decision. Fortunately, I’m not in line for a tip, so it won’t affect my overall performance. Anyway, we got some interesting pictures, and wet shoes.

As we drove down to the Sea of Galilee after that outburst, it was a very different scene than we normally experience. Of course, the skies were still gray, but the beaches and picnic areas along the shore were nothing but mini-lakes. The road was muddy. A car had gotten crushed by a falling tree. Branches were strewn everywhere. At our hotel I talked to the folks at the desk and they said there had even been hail — egg-sized (they have small eggs I think). But it had to have been brutal. In the desert, the flooding killed nine. So very sad.

This morning after we were out on the Sea, white caps popped everywhere. I’ve read about the power of the storms in Galilee, but I’ve never had a chance to see one. I’m not sure I ever want to see one in person again. I would do it while tucked into my hotel room with a front row seat to a storm. But I’d not like to be any closer than that.

Isn’t that how we like to face every turbulent situation in life? Inside. Under the covers. No personal risk. That’s nice, but it’s not how we grow. Nor how we deepen our faith in the reliability of our God. I want to be open to listen to and walk with God in each of life’s trials. That gets risky, but it is worth it in the long run. If Jesus can calm a violent storm (and He can), then I don’t have to be afraid. May our walk with God be deepened today.