My mother and I traveled recently to my hometown of Chicago. Actually, she traveled before me by a few days. She was blessed to celebrate her 84th birthday during our trip. God has kept her healthy and further, she contributes actively to ensure her maintenance. However, she does take advantage of the perks afforded as a senior. I arrange wheelchair assistance for her, and it is a tremendous benefit to limit her navigation through a busy airport with long distances. On our return trip, I traveled with her. My trip with was a 180 degree difference from my travel alone.
On my initial trip, I stood in the long TSA line. I experienced a difficult encounter with another passenger going through security. She attempted to rush me as I unpacked my laptop and and other belongings in the bins. She touched my belongings which startled me and was against the policies that are shared as one navigates the secure environment, or for that matter, anyplace in the airport. That encounter left me so frazzled that I went to my gate, stood in line to board my flight, only to realize that I was boarding for Atlanta instead of Chicago. I stood waiting in the crowded gate terminal, as there were no seats available. I had a later boarding group and in order to sit in anything other than a middle seat, I sat at the rear of the airplane. By the time I arrived in Chicago after a bumpy flight, I was tired.
However, on my return trip, I had a completely distinct experience. When we arrived to the airport, we found the ticketing area slammed with people. I noticed a line that was empty, with a wheelchair placard. The airline employee asked if I was traveling with the group of 40. I responded, “No,” but my mother has wheelchair assistance. She said, “Right this way.” We were directed to the empty line. I thought, wow, this is impressive. But, it got better. When we checked in, the ticket agent shared that he noted my mother’s ticket for pre boarding, and that as the person accompanying her, I would be afforded that luxury as well. We were then directed to a waiting area for her wheelchair assistance. A young man checked our boarding passes and assisted my mother in the wheelchair. He shared, “I’ll be taking you to your gate, and I need to fasten your seat belt.” My mother complied. We left and walked to the security area. Upon our arrival to security, the young man said, “Stick close to me. We will be going through a different security checkpoint. Sometimes they’ll ask you to stand in the other line.” As he moved swiftly, I remained close as he instructed. My mother walked through security. I was not required to take out my laptop, nor take my shoes off. I didn’t even have to stay with my belongings. The person assisting us was further responsible for that task. Once we left security, we traveled to our gate, with our special seating. We were enabled to board the plane early, in fact, when the person at the gate assisted us on the plane, she shut the door behind her, so that no one else could follow. We were the second set of passengers to plane so we had our choice of seats. We opted toward the front of the plane.
Why would I share this? Millions of people travel daily. Recently, we’ve witnessed horrific incidents of law abiding individuals experiencing mistreatment for things as trivial as an overbooked flight. We were blessed not to experience anything of that magnitude, but I realized the magnitude of the blessing I experienced. I teased my mother that traveling with her in this stage of her life is like VIP. Yet, traveling with Jesus daily, within each hour, minute and second, we are afforded similar treatment. He has the ability to make the difficult easy. It doesn’t mean that as believers we won’t have challenges, but it won’t impact us to the extent of a person who elects not to take him along for the ride. Just as the young man demonstrated, Jesus marvels to maneuver us through the crowds and cramped places. Although it gets a bit rocky on the path, we must buckle up and cling close to the Master. Further, when we find ourselves in tight situations, He has the propensity to shut us out from the world, almost vacuum seal us, as did the employee when we boarded the plane early. When we deplaned, there was another employee waiting to wheel my other off again. The same God that ushered us in Chicago, was with us inflight, and there waiting as we landed in North Carolina. We may take refuge in Psalm 34:19, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all.”
Travel or life as we know it, ain’t for the faint of heart. It’s not always easy. At times, it feels as though the unrighteous are experiencing first class while believers are waiting to board on stand by. Nevertheless, we mustn’t be disheartened because the Lord delivers us from them all. Whatever “them” is, consider God. You may opt to take this journey alone, but you certainly don’t have to. Jesus is the best travel companion there is. With Him, VIP treatment is the norm. There are no historical or cultural conditions with the exception of accepting Him as your personal Savior. Try Him. You’ll be glad you did. He is sweeter than sweet home Chicago. And you know that’s good.