Susan and I were returning from our annual anniversary week of rejuvenating in the sun at Atlantis in the Bahamas. We sat and talked in the Nassau Airport awaiting the boarding announcement for our return flight home. When our flight number was called, we quickly grabbed our bags and merged into the line to enter a secured area leading to the tarmac. We followed the flow of foot traffic through the gate, down the jetway, and onto the plane where the only two vacancies on the small jet matched the seat assignments on our boarding passes. I wondered how everyone had boarded so quickly because we had immediately responded to the first boarding call.
Then I noticed that something was not right.
Having traveled more than two million miles by air, I was sure that I was sensing a vibe of American Airlines blue rather than Delta Airlines blue. When I looked at the logo on the flight attendant’s badge, I knew we had a problem. Instead of a letter from the Greek alphabet pinned to his shirt, I saw two adjoining A’s flanked by wings. If my eyes were deceiving me, my ears were not.
At that moment, I heard the final pre-takeoff announcement over the plane’s tin-can public address system: “Ladies and gentlemen, please stow your luggage under your seats or in the overhead bins as we prepare for an on-time departure to Miami.” We were going to Cincinnati.
Susan and I grabbed our bags, sprinted off the plane, up the jetway, and through the gate. We ran through the airport hallway like Usain “Lightning” Bolt, searching for our airplane’s gate, worried that we would miss our flight. Suddenly, we were stopped by a team of uniformed, armed airport staffers. We learned that in a post-9/11 world, airport security guards do not appreciate two travelers who board a plane and then immediately run off it.
We were searched in more ways than I care to remember. The security personnel, apathetic to the fact that we might miss our flight, combed through every crevice in our carry-on bags. The more I pleaded that we were risking having our flight take off without us, the more they found a new zipper to open in our duffle bags. Finally the guards finished their search, and we were set free. We ran past several gates with our eyes scanning ahead. Finally, we entered through the correct gate, sprinted down the right jetway, and boarded the flight that would arrive at our scheduled destination.
Two different gates led to two different roads which led to two different destinations.
We approach life with God through one of two gates, traveling one of two roads, leading to one of two destinations. One is religious, traveling from the outside in. The other is relational, traveling from the inside out.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus described the two gates, the two roads, and the two destinations: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it” (Matthew 7:13-14).
Which road are you traveling?