Monday, October 13, 2008
Charlotte Douglas International Airport - 11:45 AM
I arrived safely and on time in Charlotte, for my 1:10 PM flight to New Orleans. With about an hour and a half until my US Airways flight leaves for the Big Easy, I have been fortunate enough to grab one of those high backed white rocking chairs that line the main concourse and food court area of the Charlotte Airport. Every time I change planes in Charlotte I can't help but think of Christmas Day (and night) that Linda and I spent here in 2004. A rare ice storm had closed the New Orleans Airport (and a number of other airports in the south) and we, along with hundreds of other travelers had an unexpected (and uncomfortable) stay in a place where nobody wanted to be on Christmas.
To make matters worse, I was just three weeks removed from my colon surgery, and although the doctor said we could travel, none of us had expected being stranded in North Carolina on the most special holiday of the year. My time was spent in a wheel chair, while Linda had to push me from place to place. At one point she stood in line for over 2 1/2 hours, along with hundreds of other harried travelers, trying to make arrangements to rebook flights. I felt so sorry for her. Her feet and legs had to be killing her as she stood, pushing my wheelchair ahead inch by inch as the line moved slower than a snail's pace. The whole time she was worried about me. As those great philosophers (the Four Tops) put it, "Ain't No Woman Like The One I Got!". Even with that experience fresh in memory, I decided to treat Linda to another Christmas visit with the grandchildren in New Orleans this past Christmas, and (you guessed it), she spent Christmas Day in the same airport, never getting to complete her trip to New Orleans.
Well, that's water under the bridge today. No ice storms. No holiday delays, I'm just sitting here watching the world go by and waiting for my boarding call. I am reminded about what a mobile society we have. In fact, what a mobile world we live in! While in the air looking down at the beautiful fall foliage of the Appalachian Mountains, one could see the highways far below with steady streams of traffic headed in several directions. A glance upward revealed numerous contrails left behind from the engines of other aircraft heading in every direction. Here in the main terminal building of Douglas, I guess several thousand folks have walked by my position here in the rocker. All of them headed somewhere, most of them in a hurry. There are business men, military personnel, families, elderly folks, and students. I can only imagine where they all are going.
The truth of the matter is, that the are ALL truly headed somewhere... Not just to their flight destinations, but to an eternal destination. Everyone of them! I'm sure each of them have made special preparations for reaching their flight destinations. Plans have been made, bags packed, special attention given to make sure no details are missed. Many will have people waiting to meet them at the airport when they arrive. I can only wonder how many of them have "made preparations" for their more important eternal destinations.
One destination is easy to attain. Jesus said, "Broad is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction." He tells us that the vast majority of folks are on that track. What do they have to do to get there? Nothing. Just have to keep doing what they're doing. Jesus told a man named Nicodemus those famous words that "God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever would believe on Him would not perish, but have everlasting life." He went on to say that "Those who believe on Him are not condemned but those who believe not are condemned already, because they have not believed upon the name of the only begotten Son of God." You see, our sinful nature, and no relationship with God guarantees those who have not made preparations will reach that sad destination.
Jesus said there is another gate (it's somewhat obscure) and another way (it's narrow) but it leads to life everlasting. The destination is not just "Heaven". That's the ultimate stop, but the true destination is a personal relationship with the God who created us and loves us more than we can fathom. The sad thing is that Jesus said "few there be that find it". Jesus is the way. He is the Truth. He is the Life, and no one comes to the Father except through Him.
Which way are you headed?
My prayer today - "Lord, many of these people are headed the wrong way. I can not hope to reach them all. Please help me to help someone today to find the right way".