God’s Waiting For Me in Customs

The Waiting Place

…for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
or a bus to come, or a plane to go
or the mail to come, or the rain to go
or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow
or waiting around for a Yes or a No
or waiting for their hair to grow.
Everyone is just waiting.
   -Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go! *

Customs! Dang it! I thought I had allowed plenty of time to change planes in Newark, but we left Grand Cayman two hours behind schedule. I figured we could still make our connection if we ran for the gate, but I forgot we had to collect our bags and go through Customs first. By the time we received the official okey-dokey, our flight to Denver had disappeared into the starry night. We learned a lot about waiting in the next couple of days. Rebooking over spring break is murder.

Delays are just part of the travel experience, so I pack for every contingency. I can live out of my carry-on bag for days. I never leave home without a credit card and a cell phone. Last on my list (but no less important) is my strategy for waiting in those long, long lines. I just tell myself, “I will not be here forever. I am probably not going to die standing in this line” which has worked up ’til now. As I pick up steam in life’s downhill descent, this rationale may fail. The only upside is this: should I pass away waiting to be rebooked, the airline really ought to ship me home for free.

I can tell a lot about people by watching them wait in line, the place no one wants to be. We plan our trips and our lives for maximum efficiency and minimal hassle. We stand secure as masters of our fate…until an obstacle arises. All it takes is one mechanical failure, a canceled flight, or a distant storm to throw our plans out the window and our nerves into a tizzy. The hassles of travel reflect the obstacles of life, and both raise the question:

How well do we wait?

The Bible has a lot to say about waiting. The Old Testament bears witness to one conflict after another. The wicked attacked, the righteous cried out, and God’s usual response was, “wait for Me to make things right.” In addition, the Lord frequently called average people to world-changing assignments, although He usually failed to mention that decades would pass before His purposes would be accomplished.

In the face of crushing obstacles- enemies at their backs, mountains in their paths- the faithful would groan (as I have also been known to do):

“How long, O Lord? How long?”

As our now-famous heroes of the faith (see Hebrews chapter 11) wandered in deserts and languished in prisons, surely they sometimes wondered: Did I hear God wrong? Has He forgotten about me? Should I have done something differently? What’s taking so long?  In reading their stories we learn of their pain. But these beloved accounts of God’s chosen people were left to encourage us, reminding us that God is always in control. He rescues His people in His way, in His time.

I never thought I’d miss the hassles of air travel until we slashed our vacation budget in favor of paying the mortgage. Now I do my waiting at home. It’s cheaper, cleaner, with better food and a comfy bed. I still bristle at injustice and stumble over obstacles as I travel the route He’s laid out for me. At times I wonder: Did I hear Him wrong? Should I have done something differently? But when all the planes are grounded, I just have to settle down. Instead of my carry-on bag I reach for my Bible. I never leave home without praying. And my strategy for standing in this long, long line? Well you know- I am going to die in this line, but that’s okay. God’s waiting for me in Customs.

Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord. -Psalm 27:14 NIV

© 2011 Rachel Ophoff, Coconut Mountain Communications LLC. All Rights Reserved.

Please visit my website at http://www.friendshipwithjesus.com

*Oh, the Places You’ll Go! TM & © by Dr. Seuss Enterprises, L.P.

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