Psalm 139:1 – O Lord, you have searched me and you know me. (NIV)
"Is there a Richard Adam Reilly in the car?"
With those words, the Customs and Border Protection Officer cast a pall over the car. Under sunny skies which promised pleasant driving, my wife and I had journeyed with my eldest son and our beautiful daughter-in-law. We were to spend four days of driving leisurely through Michigan, Illinois, Minnesota, and North Dakota, USA, as we made our way back to Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, from Ontario, Canada. However, all that was now hanging in the balance barely two hours into the trek, at Port Huron, Michigan, USA.
After we had spent forty-five minutes in line after crossing the Blue Water Bridge, the officer had taken our passports and asked all the usual questions: "Where are you going?" "How long will you be?" "Do you have anything to declare?" Then, the unsmiling agent commented, "Uh-oh. We have a troublemaker." My first thought was that my son's passport was out of date, but it was not that. "This passport is not valid," she coolly commented. "It hasn't been signed." Well, that didn't seem too bad, or was it?
The officer continued, "Here's what you need to do. To make this passport valid, it needs to be signed in Canada. You're going to have to turn around, cross back into Canada, and sign the passport there. Then you can return over the bridge and get back in line."
The car was silent as we mulled over this unexpected and unwanted detour. I could feel the rising tension as we began to formulate ways to make Adam's life miserable. It was then that the officer leaned in and said, "Just kidding!" with a friendly smirk. "Please sign the passport, Adam, and enjoy your trip."
As I've reflected on our stops at the border this summer, it dawned on me that God never has to ask those "border" questions. He knows where we've been, what we've been doing — even where we are going and what we are going to do.
Psalm 139:2-4 – You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar. You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways. Before a word is on my tongue you know it completely, O Lord. (NIV)
I am known. And not just the "me" everyone sees, but the real me: the "me" who is smiling on the outside, but hurting inside; the "me" who appears courageous even when terrified within — like when killing a spider — yech! In every situation in which we find ourselves embroiled, there is a God Who knows us and our circumstances even better than we know ourselves, and He cares by entering into our lives, promising, "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you." (Isaiah 43:2a NIV)
Even more, when we cross from this life to the next, our way has been secured by that very same God, through His Son Jesus Christ, Whose signature is our guarantee. No worries of delays or detours need trouble us, as He will meet us at the border and welcome us home.
Prayer: Father, Your love really is too lofty for us to understand, so we simply open our hearts to receive it. May our lips and our lives always declare it. Thank You, Jesus, for Your blood shed on the cross, and for the promise and assurance of new life. Help us to live each day in such a way that our journey will be so filled with Your presence that we might reflect Your light into the world around us. Amen.
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