Sirens suddenly blared. A voice boomed from the speakers, “Due to terrorist threats, the U.S. border is now closed. All air travel is canceled.” Airport security rounded up the travelers and began prodding us towards the exits. Chaos surrounded us as everyone scrambled to make new travel arrangements. College students, who hoped to experience spring break for all its drunken fun, created havoc as they cursed the situation. One college kid ran into a businessman, not paying attention.
“Watch it punk!” The man yelled.
The kid grabbed the man by his arm, swung him around, and planted his fist into the man’s jaw. The man dove at the kid, dropping him to the ground. Two more college boys jumped on the man. No one tried to stop the fight. My friends, Jeffrey and Steven, and I were on our way to break them up when two security guards pulled the kids off the man.
“Get your stuff and go,” one of the security guards said, standing between them. The other guard picked up the kid on the ground and shoved him towards his bag. As the kid stumbled on his hands and knees, the guard kicked him from behind. Their hostility must have frightened the boys, as it did me, because the three left some of their luggage behind as they ran away.
Security jostled us right and left while herding us towards the exit. We now stood on the sidewalk at the pickup curb. The scene I just witnessed shook me to the core. That was not how those in authority treated people.
A little girl shoving past me interrupted my thoughts. I was being overwhelmed. I needed to find peace. Squeezing my eyes shut, I attempted a temporary escape. I couldn’t block out the noise so I began to sing. It was a trick my dad taught me when I was younger as a way to calm myself down. The lyrics quietly drifted off my lips. My friends, Jeffrey and Steven,sang with me, “When forced through fire, God will cool the flames. His hand will hold to yours all along the way.”
Our coming together helped me find tranquility as our voices joined as one. Calmness replaced fear. Relief replaced stress. Unity replaced chaos. We continued to sing and others from our group joined us.
Onlookers passed by on all sides. At first, I only noticed the annoyed glares. Snide remarks came from some who had to redirect their path around us. A handful of militant type youths shoulder checked a couple of us on the outskirts of the group. My voice shook.
I opened my eyes and saw the same child who had bumped into me pulling her mom closer to us while exclaiming she knew this song. She, too, sang along as her mom stood by and listened. I felt peace flowing again through my mind. Other travelers gathered around as we finished our song. Their gentle presence helped me brush away the last of my fear.
Security guards tried to get us to leave. No one moved. I began to pray aloud, “God, we are scared, but we know You hold the world in Your hands. We cling to Your promises, and to Your love. Don’t let us lose sight of You.”
Phillip, a member of our group, continued the prayer, “Lord, we serve You, and You alone, above all else. Our sole purpose is to glorify Your name and spread the message of Your love.”
“If there is anyone here who hasn’t experienced Your mercy or Your love, let them feel it right now,” Steven added. “You have provided a way for them to receive Your forgiveness through the sacrifice of Your Son, Jesus. Don’t let them be afraid to seek knowledge of You through us.”
Macy followed, “Don’t let any of us waver in these times of trials, but let us grow closer to You. We love You, Father.”
When no one continued, Jeffrey ended with, “Be with us all as we depart. Be with our loved ones. Please take this prayer to the Father for us, Lord Jesus, for it’s through Your name that we pray.”
Together, we all said, “Amen.”
Mixed emotions filled the faces surrounding us. Tears flowed down cheeks, arms held loved ones tight, and many thanked us. We received warm smiles, handshakes, and hugs. Hearts worshiping in spirit and in truth caused other hearts to react and it lifted my spirits. Despite the situation, I was encouraged by the responses to the gospel. It didn’t matter what denomination or faith background a person had. We all joined as one, in love. Even though fear had brought us together, we knew God’s peace would allow us to go our separate ways.