Posts Tagged ‘airport’

A few Saturday evenings ago, I had to pick my husband up from the airport here in Sydney.  When I arrived, I discovered he had a gentleman with him who wanted a lift.  Apparently this man lived in an outlying suburb, but was content to be dropped at a station not far from us, so that he could catch a train home from there. I noticed the enormous amount of luggage this gentleman had, however, and briefly wondered how he would manage on the train later.

We had not gone far before our new friend said he would actually like to be driven all the way home!  We hesitated, but he then offered to pay us twenty dollars if we would do so!  We had to make up our minds quickly, since taking him right home would involve heading through the M5 tunnel rather than driving home via our usual route.  My husband and I glanced ruefully at each other – we were tired and hungry and just wanted to get home.  But what could we do?  This man would not take kindly, I felt, to being turned down.  After all, he was big and burly, and was wearing a jumper that had ‘Security Guard’ printed on it in bold letters!

So we acquiesced – and then proceeded to try to chat with him, a task that was made quite difficult, owing to his rather poor grasp of the English language.  He tried hard, however.  I smiled at how much he talked about pleasing God and praising him, after he discovered my husband is a church pastor!  But I listened carefully when he began to talk about his own Pacific culture, which he told us was ‘one big family’ where everyone helps everyone else.

After that, I was determined not to take a cent of the twenty dollars he had promised us.  What kind of impression would it give him about the ‘family of God’ if we weren’t prepared to help him out as his own community would?  We eventually pulled up outside his home, where he obviously wanted us to be quiet, since he was going to surprise his wife and children.  He had been away from them for six months, working in another city.  And when he did try to give us the twenty dollars, my husband refused it, telling him we just wanted to bless him.

Had we been ‘set up’, I wondered?  And shouldn’t this man have been up front with us in the first place?  But then it occurred to me that probably he had acted just as his culture dictated – a culture in which the ‘rules of engagement’ were understood by everyone.  In his books, there was probably nothing unusual in what he had asked of us and how he had gone about it – that was what you did for people.  So I couldn’t help feeling ashamed at my reluctance to help.  And after all, what had it cost us?  Just a bit of a detour and a few extra dollars.

Well, what would Jesus have done?  I think he would have taken the man home without hesitation, don’t you?  I think he would have gone the second – or the third – or the fourth mile, just to show that man what God’s grace is like.  I think he would have been more ‘pro-active’ himself in talking about God, instead of judging what this man said.  And I think he would have prayed for this man, for a wonderful time with his family.  How do I know this?  Because that’s how he treats me on a daily basis – and you – with such patience, grace and love!

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A few weeks ago, I had the privilege of driving a good friend to the airport.  She was returning to Turkey to work that she loves, and the strong possibility is that her friends and family will not see her for another two years or more.  It was a bittersweet moment when the time came for all of us who had gathered there to say goodbye – our friend’s heart is in Turkey, but it is also here with family and friends.

As soon as she disappeared through the entrance to the customs check area, our by now slightly teary group dispersed.  However, a few of us decided to stay on and move to a spot alongside a glass wall where passengers can be seen as they pass through a walkway leading to their respective departure gates.  And almost before we had settled ourselves, there she was again, smiling at us and waving, then turning for one final backward glance before disappearing from view.  We tried to communicate with her in various ways, blowing kisses and gesticulating wildly. I noticed too how other passengers were coming right up to the glass and placing their hands on it in an effort to reach out to those on the other side one more time.  We were glad we had stayed for this final farewell – but it wasn’t the same as being able to communicate freely, to speak and touch unhindered by the barrier between us.

As I thought about this experience later, I realised that sometimes this is how it is between God and me.  God is always there, wanting to communicate and have a close relationship with me, but sometimes these barriers spring up between us – barriers that I either deliberately put in place or just allow over time to grow bigger and bigger.  I want to talk things over with God heart to heart – and I truly want God to speak to me ‘face to face, as a man speaks with his friend’, as occurred with Moses (Exodus 33:11).  I want God to be intimately involved with all areas of my life – but for some crazy reason I distance myself behind some barrier or another. It might be that I don’t want to let go of something I know is spoiling that communication – perhaps anger or unforgiveness or even lack of trust. Or it might be that I just allow myself to become too busy or too tired or too focused on my writing or too concerned about preparing for speaking engagements, until that loving voice gets more and more indistinct and that wonderful light of God’s presence dims.  I know God is there as surely as my friend was there smiling at us from behind that glass wall – but I can’t hear what is being said or feel that restoring, encouraging, comforting touch that I know I need.

I don’t want to live like that. I don’t want to be alienated behind an impenetrable glass wall from the very one who breathes life and creativity and courage and strength into my spirit. There is a door in that wall, I believe – and Jesus is standing there.  He knocks on it, waiting for each one of us to open it and invite him in so we can relate deeply with him (Rev 3:20).

Is he there with you now, enjoying your company?

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