Crossing Over The Border
Traveling is one of my favorite things to do. Long trips, short trips. Either are fine with me. I usually just enjoy the experience and rarely get frazzled by delays. My timeline usually has some wiggle room, and if things don’t go as planned I can usually just roll with it. Fellow airport travelers who huff and puff as their patience is tried are more humorous to watch than tempting to mimic. Weather delays, mechanical problems and gate changes are just a reality of flight.
Another reality of travel is the necessity for pit stops. The old saying, ‘A minute’s a mile’ can challenge anyone’s bladder if the goal is to only stop when the car’s gas tank is on E. The cramped quarters in an airplane, bus or train bathroom can seem quite luxurious compared to watching and waiting for the next possible pit stop when the pressure is on!
There is one element of traveling that does, however, always makes my stomach a bit uncomfortable - and makes my prayer life increase. It’s when I have to cross over the border. Not within the lower 48 states – thank goodness – but when entering into another country or even when returning into the US. Questions start spinning through my mind.
- Is all my paperwork in order?
- Is there anything in our vehicle that is illegal?
- Should I smile at the border patrol agent, make eye contact or just look down?
- What if they rummage through my luggage?
- Do I look innocent? Scared? Or, just “American”?
My most memorable border crossing moments happened in the airport of San Antonio, Texas, in Canada and in India. I won’t go into all the details, but here are the highlights…
When traveling from Washington DC to San Antonio, my husband and I faced no problems. We flew through security and met with no surprises. However, as we passed through security on our way back home, a contraband item was found in my purse. (Somehow it had not been discovered on the first flight.) Thankfully there was a logical explanation, and I believe the TSA agent wanted to burst out laughing as I tried to explain myself. My husband’s astonished and somewhat chastising presence wasn’t quite as easy to sneak past. From that day forward, I now check and recheck my purse, our pockets and every piece of luggage for anything that might have inadvertently gotten stuck in a crease or crevice.
Another frightful moment in our travels happened while vacationing near Niagara Falls. We decided to take a quick trip over to the Canadian side to catch the view of the falls from that perspective. With confidence, we assured the border patrol guard that we did not have anything with us or on us that would be considered illegal. As the guard moved around the car, I suddenly remembered one particular item that was included in his litany of “Do you have….” Oh no! He said pepper spray. Did he say pepper spray? Yes, he said pepper spray, and we did have pepper spray. Oh my! It was in the door of the car. (We keep it there for times we go hiking in bear territory.) Now what? Do we confess? Do we sit silent? Suffice it to say, we made it safely into Canada and back home to the USA that same day – with no delays!
My final border crossing story happened while on a mission trip to India. As we landed on Indian soil, the team was told that the men and women would have to go into gender-based lines in customs for a ‘pat down.’ (Ok, that’s not bad. We can do this. Just go with the flow.) But, when each of the ladies realized that we would be totally separated from each other, and not even within eye sight of anyone from the team, we each felt a moment of fear run through our minds and hearts. As I entered into the curtained area, I’m sure I looked a bit nervous. (How does one make sure they ‘look’ innocent when they really are innocent – or at least think they are?) The pat down was minimal, the language barrier kept things brief and on I went. I was never so glad to be reunited with the other ladies from our group and soon with the whole team as well! The principle of ‘safety in numbers’ took on a new meaning for me in that less than comfortable border crossing.
No matter how prepared I may be while traveling on this earth – with official documents and passport in hand – there are always risks involved. But, there is one trip that I’m looking forward to where I will face no barriers. I will cross over the border with confidence. There will be no fear or trembling on this trip because I know, without a doubt, that I will be welcomed with open arms!
My eternal home in Heaven. The only thing needed to cross over that border is a relationship with my Savior, Jesus Christ! What a blessing we can all find in Him. Repentance that brings freedom from guilt and shame. Forgiveness that brings us grace and peace. Redemption that brings us salvation through the work of Christ on the cross and in His resurrection! And, power to grow in Him through the presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives. We couldn’t have a better traveling companion and mediator for anywhere we may travel - now and in eternity.
Today, I hope you stand ready to cross the border when Jesus calls you home!
“I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” John 14:6
“Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.” 1 John 5:12
But, even if you 'have the Son' and have been promised life eternal, there are times when the enemy tries to steal away our assurance of a quick and speedy crossing. Are you really good enough? Did God really forgive you for that one unmentionable sin? If you’ve heard those whispers or if you know others who struggle with the assurance they can have in Christ, check out this great resource that focuses on the true source of our salvation. After all, it’s all about Jesus.
“The Good-O-Meter” - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XrLzYw6ULYw