There are only two places in my life where I have the feeling of my heart being strung up into my throat: in an airport and in my living rooom.
There is a given, prestated time my flight will board, wil depart, will arrive again. There is the same established hour at which, or between which, the coordinator will call for a driver-helper. Meanwhile, I can’t eat, can’t really drink, and I only touch the front four inches of my chair. Even when the flight won’t leave for a good few hours. Even when the voice on the line says, “Not yet”.
Because at any single moment something could change. A postponement which instigates the removal of all our luggage to a ticket counter as quickly as possible – a task which requires no little quick-thinking and mental stamina. A last-minute phone call for the first ever shift I’ve never worked, ever. There is no option of being caught in the backwash. Not at an airport; not in a new job.
One of my friends is a former member of the 82nd Airborne. His job was to drop out of the sky into a battle zone whenever his commanders needed him. To this day he barely sleeps the night before a trip somewhere, even trips he has planned for himself.
The children of Israel spent an entire night experiencing this heightened anticipation. And it wasn’t for toys or the concert of the year or anything like that. Every man, woman, and child was on a hair trigger because the moment the word came they would be gone.
The sudden knock on the door.
“I will bring one more plague on Pharaoh and on Egypt. Afterward he will let you go from here. When he lets you go, he will surely drive you out of here altogether. You shall let none of it remain until moring, and what remains of it until morning you shall burn with fire. And thus you shall eat it: with a belt on your waist, your sandals on your feet, and your staff in your hand. So you shall eat it in haste. It is the LORD’s Passover.” And they baked unleavened cakes of the dough which they had brought out of Egypt; for it was not leavened, because they were driven out of Egypt and could not wait, nor had they prepared provisions for themselves. ~Exodus 11:1; 12: 10-11, 39
Do you lie awake in anticipation of Jesus’ shout? Do you come to with a start and instantly look around for an updated boarding time? Double-check your gate, your terminal every hour? Spend the night sitting up, fully dressed? Are your bags backed, lunch bagged, boots by the door, keys and ID in the top pocket the moment you need them? I think you can picture it.
“For this we say to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive and remain until the coming of the Lord will by no means precede those who are asleep. For the Lord Himself will descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of an archangel, and with the trumpet of God. And the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And thus we shall always be with the Lord.” ~I Thessalonians 4:15-17
Are you on the balls of your feet? Heart in your throat? Prayer on your lips? Because something could change at any moment. Any moment the call could come.