Yesterday, our family arrived back in the United States from Brazil. It’s hard to explain what it’s like for a person from a third world nation (excuse me, developing nation) entering the United States and having to wait in line at immigration and passport control.
I’m not sure how other travelers feel, but I still find it intimidating. The line is always long. And there’s always the thought of, “What if the officer I get is feeling crazy and sends me back home? I’m not spending another minute on an airplane!”
Yesterday was our most difficult experience so far. (And that’s counting the time eleven years ago when my father and I were interrogated separately.) It took three and a half hours from the time our plane landed till we exited the airport, all of it in passport control.
Here are a couple thoughts I had while waiting:
1. This isn’t my home.
Everything about immigration reminds me that I’m not from here. No matter how many times I’ve been here, I always get into the Visitors Line. All the staff and officers you meet are abrupt and distant, even the polite ones. They’re looking at thousands of people a day, trying to screen terrorists, illegal immigrants, smugglers, and legitimate visitors. So if they tell you to wait for hours with no indication of when they’ll get to you, you wait. They aren’t looking out for your rights here.
But that’s fine coz that’s not my home. I’m visiting. I have an actual home, the Philippines, where I’m comfortable, my rights are a priority (ideally), and things are more conducive for our family.
And this is true for all of us who believe in Jesus. 1 Peter 2:11 says we are “foreigners and exiles” in this world. This world isn’t our home!
- Don’t expect the teachings of Jesus to be universally popular or automatically accepted
- Don’t be surprised when your decisions to deny self, carry your Cross, and follow Him are questioned or mocked
- Don’t aspire for everything this world chases after
- Don’t make popularity and acceptance your goal – if people accept you, great. If not, well, they didn’t accept Jesus either.
- Wait in faith and excitement for your home.
It’s great to travel and see new places. And it’s also great to come home. For all believers out there, if you’re getting weary on this journey we’re all on, don’t forget, Jesus has gone ahead to prepare our home.
I’ll post the second thought tomorrow.