Our passport – the most useless thing in 2020.
You might have scrolled past this post on your feed and thoroughly agreed with a rueful half-laugh. So what if Singaporeans have the most powerful passport in the world? Its inherent power still has to bow to global crises, and reasonably so.
Many of us would have wanted to travel in summer. My family were looking forward to returning to Taiwan for the third time and having a lovely homestay at an exquisite min su… maybe stopping by the Pacific Ocean to bask in the breeze, and being mesmerised by the black sand and shipless horizon.
Sitting at home watching travel variety shows and having Instagram accounts flooding my feed with beautiful sunsets and lush meadows, I began to ponder the future of personal travel or even just the possibility of endless exploration in our little red dot.
With the post-circuit breaker phases rolling out painfully slow, it seems like it’ll be a long time before we can even watch a movie or go to the museum.
But then I was reminded that there are limitless places on His itinerary that He can take us to in the present.
GOD, THE PILOT
In the last few months, there were times when I was so thoroughly immersed in His presence that God took me on the vacation of my life. I was just worshipping, not coming to God with any agenda, but He met me in ways I didn’t know I needed.
Once I was soaring on the wings of an eagle, gliding above the clouds with Jesus by my side. I was looking right at the sun in its glory and majesty without hurting my eyes. Another time I was walking on water with Jesus, above the waves, amid what seemed to be a brewing storm.
Perhaps I was subconsciously worried about my life ahead, and God delivered a timely reminder that as long as I was with Him, I could rise above any obstacle and glimpse His glory in my life.
Some of my quiet times with God were almost like boarding a flight. Though not yet knowing the destination, I could be confident about the journey because of my travel companion.
SOMEWHERE ONLY WE KNOW
I also have secret vacation spots – places that I’ve retreated to more than once.
Sitting on a log with Jesus under a tree at the edge of a cliff overlooking a sea of forest, with yellow – my favourite colour – flowers swaying gently in the breeze behind us. It is a place of peace, joy and relationship.
This place was given to me after I watched one of my favourite movies, Christopher Robin.
As I lay in bed thinking about the scene of Chris and Pooh in the meadow and desired so much to spend time with Jesus when I could finally meet him face to face, I was transported to that same place sitting beside Him.
Leaning into His embrace, He told me: “This is now, not somewhere in the future.”
Oftentimes we envision beauty only coming to fruition in the new order, a distant heaven-on-earth dream. But God assured me that eternity with Him begins now.
Since then, that has been my secret place with Jesus. And though the creation before my eyes is beautiful, nothing beats the beauty of the Creator sitting next to me.
If we seek travel as a form of rest and relaxation, I can assure you that God’s travel agency can do one better.
There is no greater rest than that which is given by God (Psalm 91:1). We can all experience the “green pastures” and “quiet waters” in Psalm 23 when we dwell in God’s presence.
A JOURNEY INTO THE PAST
Even better, God takes us where no airplane can ever take us – our past.
Through spending time with God, He showed me exactly how He was present in all those times when I thought was alone.
During a time of worship, God brought me back to a scene during my first youth camp. Back then, I had been tasked to do a presentation of the sandcastle sculptures we had made in a group activity.
I accepted hesitantly because I never liked speaking in front of crowds and having everyone’s eyes on me. I wasn’t humorous nor entertaining in the way I speak either, so I was already feeling sorry for dragging the group down even before it began.
But in the renewed memory, Jesus was there.
There I was squatting down and pointing to the sculptures, timidly explaining them. Everyone else was standing around me, but Jesus was the only one squatting down opposite me and smiling at me. His silent encouragement was deafening.
Even though I felt I wasn’t as charismatic as everyone else, He told me it was okay to just be myself. What a beautiful new memory made!
We often travel to make memories through new experiences, but it’s amazing how God can perfect many a memory and bring newness to something we’d thought had become stale in our minds.
He can bring to light the astounding beauty in situations we deem regrettable or forgettable.
Some of us relax on a peaceful beach with God, as rhythmic waves lap against the shore. Some of us have our top-of-the-world moments on the mountain peak, where God shows us the splendour of His creation.
No amount of fanciful vocabulary can describe the wonderful places God wants to take us, and neither is it needed. Because it’s all about the personal experience.
We encounter Him, are healed and ministered to, and have our faith strengthened. God’s vacation is always purposeful, and He knows what we need.
Are you ready to go on an all-expense paid trip?
No visa or passport is needed. No rush to pack your bags two hours before heading to the airport. No being confined in a box in the air for hours. And certainly no global pandemic can stop it.
All you need is a willing and faith-filled heart to kickstart your globetrotting adventure with God!
THINK + TALK
- When was the last time that God brought you on a journey as you spent time with Him? What did you see? How did you feel?
- Is there a passage in the Bible that brings you encouragement when you picture it in your mind? Why?
- Do you have a particularly difficult or troubling memory that you’ve been avoiding? Would you be willing to revisit that with Jesus?