Crossing Borders

Citizenship Matters

When my daughter married a Canadian seven years ago, international borders suddenly became an integral part of my life. But because Canada and the United States are “first cousins,” other than a passport and a dose of patience, traveling between the two countries was a breeze—until Covid-19. Now the global pandemic has made the once-easy border crossing virtually impossible, except for a few.

Recently, as my husband and I drove over the eerily deserted bridge toward the Canadian border to visit our week-old granddaughter, I was hoping we would be among those few who qualified to cross under the strict rules of family reunification. I knew if we didn’t get across, we likely wouldn’t be able to see them for a year—because my daughter and son-in-law were preparing to move to the Canadian arctic.

I pulled out the Fed-Ex envelope with our paperwork in preparation for our turn with the border agent. I flipped through the packet: passports, quarantine plan, our daughter’s birth certificate, and a notarized copy of her Canadian permanent residency card. Surveying the documents, I realized how much was riding on their acceptance—they were our ticket to enter a country we had no right to access because we were not citizens.

Gaining Access

As I waited, I remembered the words of the apostle Paul to the church in Philippi reminding them that their citizenship – and that of all believers – was not on earth, but in heaven (see Philippians 3:20). And, when the ultimate border crossing is before us, the proof we need to enter will not be notarized documents but our individual allegiance to Jesus Christ. Our access to His Kingdom is not granted by a passport but by our names as recorded in the Book of Life.

Before our trip, we researched and complied with the requirements for entrance into Canada. In contrast, my heavenly citizenship was granted through no effort of my own—it was purchased at the highest cost, the King’s very life.

And as I recognized this gift, I also realized how easy it is to lose sight of its true value. In all the worry and preoccupation with the ongoing news of COVID-19 infection rates and riots, have I overlooked opportunities to boldly share where my ultimate allegiance is? Perhaps right now, amid the uncertainty and upheaval, my neighbors are more open to the truth—more willing to hear about a place where there will be no more tears, injustice, division, or pandemics.

But how will they hear unless someone tells them?

Thankfully, my preparation paid off and we made it across the Canadian border. I’m writing this with a newborn on my lap in a house looking increasingly bare— the movers come tomorrow! I’ve been privileged to immerse myself in precious family time and am grateful my credentials made that possible.

I’m also thankful for the reminder of my ultimate destination and feel freshly compelled to tell as many as will listen that they too can enter His eternal Kingdom.