Passport Control and Heaven #2

Yesterday I blogged about my thoughts during our longest wait ever at immigration and passport control. It came right after a fifteen hour journey that included Philip being cranky, tired, even having a pretty severe allergic reaction. A long immigration line was the worst greeting.

Then it was made even worse because Carla was made to wait in a separate room for secondary screening. Philip and I couldn’t accompany her so we had to go downstairs to baggage claim and wait. No word was given on how long she would be. This had happened before, but we always stayed together as a family and always much shorter than this.

So I found all our bags which were off the belt already since we were in line so long. I pushed the luggage cart with my left hand and pulled Philip in his stroller with the other. (A trick that a friendly airport staffer taught me.) But there was no food anywhere, and Philip was getting grumpy. I asked many staff if there was a way to communicate with my wife in secondary screening and they all gave the same general answer:

There’s no way to communicate with her. You can’t go there. Neither can I. Just sit and wait. It could be an hour; it could be four hours.

When you have a sleepless, hungry, tired toddler that’s the worst news. Thankfully, Philip was being quite calm and sat quietly watching his Wheels on the Bus video, while we waited by the escalator for Carla. I wondered if they would notify me if they decided to send her back to the Philippines.

Finally, after an hour of sitting at the foot of that escalator, I saw Carla’s beautiful face and I must have had the stupidest grin on my face. Philip excitedly called, “Mama!” Then he began crying, almost like a release after the long wait without his mom.

And this was just after a ninety minute separation.

It made me think of other joyful reunions – soldiers returning from deployment with their families, OFW’s coming home, and families reuniting for celebrations. There’s something about being face to face with a close relationship you’ve been separated from.

I’ve said before that I don’t like long distance relationships. But one benefit from them is that the separation makes the reunion glorious.

All believers on earth are in a long distance relationship with God. But the day will come when we will be reunited. More reassuring than Philip and me seeing Carla coming down that escalator. More joyful than even the most moving soldier, seaman, or OFW reunion.

Here’s how the Bible describes it:

And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God. He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.” Revelation 21:3-4

We are all enduring something in life today. But I pray that we will find strength in this encouragement:

The wait is temporary.

The God you love, the God who loves you, the one you know by faith right now, you will one day know by sight. 

That hope helps us wait patiently.

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