“Knowing That You Know”:
Chris was unable to attend a Christmas Eve Service December 23, 2003 (at this church we had services one on the 23rd & 24th). She was at home because her father, living in Phoenix, was expected to pass at any time. When I arrived home the news had been received, he had gone to be with the Lord. Talking with her Mom, sister, and brother it was decided we would stay in Illinois, have the second Christmas Eve Service as scheduled and celebrate Christmas morning with our kids and grandkids. On Christmas afternoon we had airline tickets to Phoenix which included a stop and plane change in Fort Worth.
Our plane was delayed about 30 minutes from taking off out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport. We both were a bit anxious about our connecting flight in Fort Worth and there was reason to be. By the time we got our luggage, rushed to the departure gate at the other end of the airport, we were told the gate was closed and the plane was taking off. Our option was to go stand-by, but we were told the plane is at capacity. Unless someone doesn’t show, it’s full. We had not experienced this situation before. We felt an urgency to get to Chris’ Mom, and I know we, or I looked like a crazy person going back and forth asking the gate attendant if anyone had cancelled their tickets.
Thinking about this had made me realize, you can generally tell a person who is on stand-by, versus one with a ticket. One is calm, drinking a beverage, reading the newspaper or a book and visiting with those around them. The stand-by people are nervous, anxious, and hoping their name will be called. They also know there is a good chance it will not be. You see, that is the way it is when you are confident of your ultimate destination, and you know that you are going to Heaven. You are at peace, and you can deal with the mountain tops and valleys in life. Jesus does not want us to live with uncertainty, He wants us to be sure of our salvation, to be confident of eternity with Him and confident – in short – that we have our ticket to Heaven. It’s then, and only then you are ready to live, really live, because you KNOW you are ready to die. Your ticket to Heaven is punched when you confess your sins accepting Christ into your life.
And, if you’re wondering. After more than an hour wait, my name was called by the attendant. She did not tell us who, but I’m convinced there was a couple who overheard my pleas and gave up their tickets for an evening flight so we could go on the next one out. You have no idea how many times that couple has crossed my mind over the years, but their generosity and unselfishness was deeply appreciated then and still is today. I’ve hoped and prayed God would use me in some way to be a blessing to someone in need.