After a long flight, on disembarking, there’s nothing better than knowing that you’ve reached your destination. Except officially you haven’t. You’re still effectively in transit and depending on the size of the terminal (Singapore – enormous, Rarotonga – not so much) you have a normally wearying journey ahead before you can step out into the land of your destination. Until then, you are essentially in no man’s land. You’re not in the country that you departed from (obviously – the travel time and probably the sheer distance travelled is a somewhat strong indication of this fact). But you’re also not officially in your destination country.
I’m thinking the movie “The Terminal” here. The movie, starring Tom Hanks, based on the true story of a man who spent 17 years (17 years!!!!!) in the Terminal of Charles De Gaulle International Airport. Not allowed to leave, not allowed to stay. Nomad’s land. Not there, and not quite here.
You see, on arrival there’s a little queuing, filling out of forms, presenting of passports that needs to occur. There’s protocol that has to be completed. You have to pass through Immigration and Customs. Your arrival (in hopefully a tropical paradise?!) needs to be approved. Visa’s checked, baggage checked, yourself vetted. Permission granted.
I think this is what life is like. We have the Promise from God, but there is Terminal that we have to transverse before we can reach the provision, the promise fulfilled. For the Israelites, their time in the Terminal (i.e. Wildnerness) lasted 40 years. For Joseph it took time in a Pit and a Prison. And as different the Rarotonga Terminal is to L.A, Singapore or Heathrow, so too is the time we spend between the promise and the provision.
And like International travel where the final step of the journey is to pass through Immigration and Customs Checks, so do we often face in life that important last battle, hurdle before we enter the Promised Land. Israel had to face Jericho, Joseph stood before Pharaoh and I have grappled with British Immigration who were being, well er rather British about be me visiting.
So if you’ve had the Word, the Promise and are yet to see the fulfilment, take heart, take encouragement. You’re travelling through an Airport and that’s just part of the journey. And here’s a tip – in this time fortunately there are shops, places to refresh and rest (but not to set up camp!). So take a lesson from me – enjoy the walk through the airport.
The journey is almost over and the next about to begin.
Who could forget Mary Poppins’ carpet bag? If you’ve ever seen the movie, the carpet bag is quite synonymous with the arrival of Mary Poppins to the Banks’ house. And despite its limited size (which actually was rather capacious) it was able to contain all manner of large items from a mirror to a pot plant to a floor lamp even. It seemed that whatever Mary Poppins needed it was already in her carpet bag!
I would have to say that my handbag could give that infamous carpet bag a run for its money. In mine I have items for entertaining children, feeding them or distracting them. If you have a headache – sorted – I’ll have something in it for that too. Need dettol or a wet wipe – just see me! There’s mints and tissues. Generally if I need something when I’m out and about, chances are it will already be in my handbag.
It’s the same with God. When we are going through something, chances are He has already given us a tool to help. He has already equipped us with something to get us through. It might be a prophetic word, a Scripture, a dream. But if you look over your history with God, you will find it. So for me, often when I am walking through a trial, a challenge I look backwards – I look over my journal, my prophetic words, reread my dreams to see what key God has already provided for me.
Today, I’m walking through this in a more practical way. Recently we were blessed with the gift of a car. It was an incredibly generous gift, out of the blue and so blessed us. Today, I stood outside our house and watched our family car be loaded onto a tow truck. Engine trouble the AA man said. And as I watched the car be towed away, I realised that in that gracious and generous gift of a car, was God’s provision for what He knew lay ahead for us. Our car had broken down but God had already provided the solution for us. We’d already been equipped for what we are now walking through.
I may hope that my handbag trumps Mary Poppins; bag, but I know for sure that God trumps me and Mary Poppins every time!