There is something about getting off a plane at Miami International Airport and marching into the sea of confusion that is the “US Immigration” area — something that makes your whole idyllic, relaxing vacation suddenly coagulate into renewed stress.
As we emerged from the hallway we saw at least 30 Immigration officials perched in a long row of glass booths, processing travelers’ papers with varying degrees of intensity or patient boredom, depending. Small placards marked the booths on one half of the row for “Returning US Citizens” and the other for “Visitors,” which seemed like a great idea because the visitors required a longer process. But you could hardly see the placards past the lines of people, and with no signs to direct travelers as they came in, you pretty much took potluck as to how many visitors you had to wait for in the “Citizens” lines. Conversations in French, Spanish and some languages I could not identify swirled around us.
“Man, this is taking forever,” Brent fretted as the clock ticked away the minutes to our connecting flight.
I adjusted my backpack, which seemed to grow heavier by the minute. “I know; I wish we could just skip it.” Too bad; you cannot get past this area and on into the country unless you have your little interview with an official. While waiting, I started mentally comparing this Immigration process to another that I have yet to experience.
Before we could travel out of the US and back, we had to fill out long passport applications, have official photos taken and pay our fees, then wait several weeks for the passports to arrive. You have to keep track of your passport, too. You can’t lose it or you won’t get through Immigration — at least, not in time for a connecting flight. Maybe never. And really, since September 2001 we have had reason to be concerned about whether people are entering the US with harmful intent.
However, in the Kingdom of Heaven no one worries about terror attacks, since the loving and sovereign King of kings is completely in charge. There is just one caveat — only family can enter. Jesus, who is God the Son, is already there preparing a place for his adopted brothers and sisters. No one has to pay a fee to be adopted, since Jesus already paid the incalculable price by giving his life and rising from the dead. Our part is just to trust him — by agreeing that we fail to live up to his perfection, and believing that his death and resurrection are enough to pay the penalty we owe.
In fact, trying to add my merit to his sacrifice would be more than ludicrous. Downright insulting, actually. I mean, you might as well try to enhance Duckling a l’Orange with ketchup, or the Crown Jewels with a chip of limestone.
Unlike our vacation, we won’t need a passport or any other ID to enter Heaven. The Lord knows his own. No papers to lose, nothing printed or signed or stamped by anyone. Neither human approval nor its absence has any bearing on my immigration status with God. Instead, all those who choose to trust him are “sealed” by God’s Holy Spirit. That means we are permanently, eternally identified as his.
When it’s my time to enter Heaven, I just wonder. . . will I have to wait in line?
Oh, well — I guess it won’t matter.
Thanks for reading,
Be sure to visit this week’s Company Girl Coffee — and read about Rachel Anne’s experience with divine providence.
I have also linked up at Finding Heaven, with the wonderful women of Soli Deo Gloria.