For the past few years Becky and I have used the Mobile Passport app on our phones to help us get through immigration and customs when returning from an international flight. About this time last year, I upgraded to the Plus version in anticipation of returning from a mission trip to Guatemala. I thought I might use the upgrade more than once in 2020, but even so, it was worth the $14.99 subscription.
A few days ago, I received a notice asking if I wish to renew the subscription for another year. Another $14.99. I went for it. We have no current plans for international travel, and we know that our best-case scenario for a trip somewhere far away any time soon is full of lots of pandemic era ifs. Still, I went for it. A $14.99 bet on the future.
There’s no reason I could not let my Plus subscription lapse and then renew it prior to the if and when of a next foreign trip. At the very least, my $14.99 would cover a twelve-month period when I might actually use it.
But I wanted to make that $14.99 bet on the future, even if the odds of winning are not particularly good. I like the symbolism.
Becky and I had hoped – we still hope – for international travel to be part of our retirement. Brazil. Europe. The Holy Land. Burundi!?! Hopefully, the pandemic pause does not become permanent. But even if it does…
To those with well thought-through travel plans, James says, “Arrogant ones! You are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. …You ought to say, ‘If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.’” (James 4:14-15)
My $14.99 bet on the future is about more than travel, however. And it is not simply for a return to a-year-ago normal.
The $14.99 is a bet that God has more in store for us than Zoom meetings and masks, curbside pickup and social bubbles. And, yes, it is a bet on God more than it is a bet on a vaccine. It is a bet that the race is not over, that the prize will be worth the struggle. It is a bet that faith and patient endurance are always better than giving in or giving up.
We don’t have any big trips planned and I don’t know when we will. But I paid the $14.99 to renew my Mobile Passport Plus. My bet on the future and a well-spent $14.99.
Saint Andrew friends: I am teaching this class again this Sunday. The Great Mystery plus “Can white Christians hold on to Jesus?” And more. Join us Sunday at 9:00 a.m.