The day started out OK. The business trip to Atlanta with my friend and coworker had been planned for weeks. Our first hint of trouble occurred when I checked the news on my cellular telephone. American Airlines had grounded more than 200 flights due to safety concerns. As the old saying goes, “Better safe than sorry.” Much to our delight, our flight was cleared for take-off.

We arrived in Dallas in time to catch our connecting flight. Once nestled in, the captain announced our flight had been delayed, but we were allowed to de-plane and grab a bite. We were getting nowhere fast.

Time passed quickly, but as we approached our gate, the lobby looked like a ghost town. Had we been left behind?

Only a few secondary lights were on and ticket agents were nowhere to be found. Our spirits sank. In our quest for food and fellowship, had we ignored the warnings for final boarding call?

We set out to find other human life forms. Eventually, a night guard directed us to activity on the other side of the security line. There we found fellow long-faced travelers in a lingering line waiting for hotel vouchers and tickets for new flights the following day. We were among the 46,000 passengers whose flights had been cancelled. As stragglers, we were issued tickets of hope. No promise of a new seat, just a prominent position on a stand-by list.

We were directed to a shuttle for a cheap hotel. The bed had hardly gotten warm before we were up again at 3 a.m. to catch our flight. The ticket counter wouldn’t stir for another two hours. Absent of people, an eerie atmosphere permeated the airport. Thoughts of rapture entered my mind. Missing a flight was one thing. Missing a mass exodus to Heaven was another.

Our instincts to arrive early paid off. Unbelievably, we had been directed to the wrong gate! The sky monorail was not yet operating, but a kind TSA employee arranged for ground transport to a distant terminal. A little help went a long way! Our bodies were starting to show signs of travel fatigue, but it was nothing a tall cup of coffee and a warm muffin wouldn’t cure.

We struggled to determine if we were victims or victors. Despite adversity and many false prophets, we crossed the finish line, but not without hope and prayer.

What a tragedy to struggle through life only to discover you hold a ticket to the wrong gate. Jesus said in John 10:9, “I am the gate; whoever enters through Me will be saved.” No one gets through the gates of Heaven without Him. How sad to be misled by false prophets or to gain the whole world, only to forfeit your soul to Hell.

Perhaps it is time to check our eternal boarding passes. Relying on church membership, good deeds, baptism or reciting a prayer card are sure to call us up short. Without relying on Jesus as our Savior and calling on Him as Lord, we are certain to miss the final boarding call to Heaven.