by Emily Conrad
I’m sitting alone and tired in the New Orleans airport when I read the confirmation that a close relative has cancer. The word aggressive lurks in the description, a shark looking to devour.
A stranger sits next to me to check his phone as I wonder what to make of this. Of cancer. Of being alone and tired. Of my grandfather, who died of prostate cancer, my grandmother of lung cancer, my other grandfather of skin cancer.
My ride is late, it’s after nine, and the place is emptying out, but I’m stuck and not completely sure I’m safe.
Airports, all the coming and going, just seem like dangerous places, a place from which I could disappear against my will.
I’m hanging out here, surrounded by drivers dressed in black suits, armed with signs. They’ve come to collect and safely deliver new arrivals to their destinations.
I text my husband about the cancer news. He replies, we’ll pray.
Meanwhile the woman at the desk near me plays solitaire, and my friend texts that she hit something in the road on her way to get me. She stranded at the side of the freeway with traffic whizzing by.
A few minutes later she texts that she thinks she blew a tire. The best of all possibilities I’d thought of. Actually, better than the other possibilities.
But as I sit here and wait, I think, What if this is the last thing I write?
Not because I feel endangered, specifically, but because I was also almost in an accident on the way to the airport. Because airplane take offs and landings scare me a little. Because people get cancer. Because life is, in the end (and the beginning and the middle), vapor.
If this is it, I want to show faith. I want you to know that this game of solitaire isn’t as solitary as it seems.
For those of us in relationship with Jesus, we do not arrive at our destination without our Father running out to meet us.
The scandal of His excitement to gather us, His wayward children covered in mire, doesn’t cause Him a moment’s hesitation. He wraps us in the white righteousness of Christ. He slaughters the fattened calf. He calls for a party.
What can we make of this but joy? What can we call all these comings and goings of His people but homecomings of better and better worth?
I may be alone and stranded and uncertain in this airport, but this is only one reality.
The greater truth is that nothing–not cancer or aggressiveness or loneliness or flat tires or long waits or fatigue or headaches–nothing can separate me or you from the love of God.
He chose me, and I chose Him.
My King is both already here and on His way. I do not wait in vain in this hub, nor do I wait alone. He will come and bring with Him victory of the truest kind.
So what do I make of all this? I take all the situations and relationships and glue them together into an opportunity for hope.
And hope does not disappoint, because the love of God has been poured out in our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us. Romans 5:5, NET