Phone, wallet, boarding pass, iPad. Phone, wallet, boarding pass, iPad. Phone, wallet, driver's license, boarding pass, iPad.
Over and over, I check my carry-on bags to insure my most valuable possessions are with me. In my hotel room, in the hotel lobby, again in the rental car, I check. I am on track to arrive at the airport nearly two hours before boarding, yet cramping pains ripple through my gut. They will not cease until I am securely seated at my gate.
Once there, I take a breath, shake my head, and pray, "Dear Lord... I have no excuse for this fear. I am an experienced traveler. I am even TSA pre-checked. Not sure how that happened, but it is entirely possible that you, in your mercy, blessed me with that status so I have less to do in between my neurotic re-checking of my belongings. I am sorry, again, for not resting in your protection. Praying feels so good, Lord. I am going to do more of it... as soon as I make sure I put my driver's license back in my wallet after going through security…”
When His disciplines were terrified on the boat during a storm, Jesus said, "You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” If I had been there, it would have been my pre-boarding fit that would have driven Jesus crazy.
Money pouch, leftover loaves and fishes, sandals. Money pouch, leftover loaves and fishes, sandals. I would have been the first one on the boat, securing a seat with easy access to my carry-on during the voyage. Jesus might have let one of those big waves sweep my bag of belongings out to sea. I can imagine frantically grasping to save it, then feeling Jesus tug on my arm, saying, "Relax. It does not matter. I am here. Who got you those loaves and fishes anyway?"
I can analyze why I live in panic mode when I travel. I want to be in control. I want to comply with the rules and get on board, on time, as planned. I want to keep all the resources I need to buy my way out of trouble. I want immediate communication with home or work. I want to protect my identity. There are so many valid reasons to check that bag again.
A more valuable analysis would be what the Word of God has to say. Psalm 23 asserts that God is with me even in the face of death and blesses me in front of my enemies. Psalm 103 lists all the benefits of God's love: He forgives my sins, redeems me from the pit, heals my diseases, crowns me with love and compassion (let's see my iPad do all that).
Romans 8: 14-16 explains we are God’s children, not slaves who live in fear. 2 Corinthians 9: 8 says, “And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)
That last phrase opens my heart to deeper understanding. Yes, He protects and provides abundantly, and He wants me to trust Him to do so. Why? So I am ready to serve Him!
I recall a recent airport layover. When my head wasn’t rooting around in my case, I noticed a young man giving his grandmother instructions for finding the restroom. He was standing next to their pile of luggage, unable to leave to guide her forty feet down the bustling corridor. As the woman walked slowly away, looking in all directions, I came up next to him and said, “I have experience with my Mom. May I help her get to the restroom?”
Full of relief he said, “Oh, yes. Thank you!”
I caught up with her just as she passed the entry. I introduced myself, explaining that her grandson had given me permission to help her find the restroom. She was relieved too, and so grateful. I waited for her exit, then accompanied her back to the gate.
That’s what Jesus wants.
Dear Lord, I am sorry for my irrational bundle of nerves. Help me trust that you have all my needs covered so that I am free to be your face of calm and hands of love in this storm-tossed world. Amen.
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