Wonder Moment: In The Wilds Of Wales
As the daughter of the creator of Wonder Voyage, I have been blessed to travel the world and watch Wonder Voyage grow from the ground up. I have witnessed the length and breadth of what God can do when a willing heart leaves its comfort zone and opens up to His voice abroad.
Yet as I grew older, I became jaded to the “Wonder Voyage experience.” It all became more about travel for me and less about God. So in 2010, when I asked my father if my best friend and I could tag along on a Wonder Voyage to Wales, I viewed it as an adventure abroad rather than as a pilgrimage.
The entire trip my friend and I would distance ourselves from the daily devotion and reflection times with the group and wander off on our own. I was enjoying myself but there was a nagging fear that resided in me. I worried about what I would do after college. I wondered how I could survive in a world that my naive eyes were viewing with clarity for the first time. Most of all, I feared death and any pain that might accompany it. Those fears burrowed within me and I longed to be free of them.
One afternoon, while the team was in the chapel doing their daily devotion, my friend and I were exploring the grounds of the Christian retreat centre we were staying at. We wandered together for a while but then my friend broke off and began walking down the hill. Instead of following her, I chose to climb on top of a small wooden structure that would allow me to look out on the green hills below.
As I began to climb, it suddenly felt as if I were passing beneath a waterfall of peace. Everything around me became still. The sounds around me became muffled as if I were being wrapped in a large comforter from head to toe. I reached the top of the structure and looked out on the lush surrounding garden nestled among the misty hillside. I felt like I was in the most serene dream I had ever experienced. Then, clear and crisp, came the voice of God:
“Do not fear death, or even the pain of death, for this is the peace that comes immediately after.”
At the sound of His voice, my fear evaporated into nothing. With one sentence, one brush of Christ’s hand over me, I knew I would never fear death again. I knew I would never again doubt His existence. I knew I would never, ever wonder what came after this life, because God graciously showed me a glimpse of what was to come, and it was beautiful.
I would not have had this experience had I not gone on that Wonder Voyage. Though I did not go for spiritual renewal, Wonder Voyage took me to a thin place, where Heaven and Earth met, and God found me there. He has used, and continues to use, Wonder Voyage to alter lives forever, regardless of if He is being sought or not. And for that, I am forever grateful.
Coeli Lawhead is a writer, editor, and teacher. She currently resides in Dallas, TX with her husband and two children.
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