Thursday, January 30, 2014

I Didn't See That Train Coming

Excerpt from Road Signs for Living

These things happened to them as examples
and were written down as warnings for us,
on whom the fulfillment of the ages has come.
                              I Corinthians 10:11 NIV

     Railroad crossings without warning lights and gates still cause me to shudder. When I was a young girl, I had a neighbor who tried to cross at one such railroad track—he did not make it. He survived the impact only to be mentally and physically disabled for the remainder of his life. I think of him at those unlighted crossings, and I obey the warning on the sign that says Rail Road Crossing.

     One beautiful March morning as I drove to work God continued to speak to my heart about heeding spiritual road signs. When I reached the railroad crossing that had no drop-down gates, the lights were flashing bright red in the early morning dawn. While still a half mile away, I prepared to heed that warning.

     These lights often flashed as a train sat down the track line not moving. I watched as cars zipped over the crossing without slowing. I shuddered as I remembered my neighbor. I shook my head in amazement at the number of drivers who, with no apparent thought, kept following the vehicle in front of them. Just about the time I assumed the train sat resting on the tracks down the line causing the lights to flash, I heard the whistle. Wooooo hoooooo—very loud and very close. With its headlight beaming and its wheels roaring, that locomotive raced across the highway carrying its boxcars behind it.

     The car in front of me jerked to a stop just short of the crossing. I sat several car lengths behind. I could imagine the beads of sweat forming on the driver’s forehead. It seemed I could hear his heart pounding.

     A few days later, at that same crossing, the lights flashed for no visible reason. However, there was something different about that day. The drivers each stopped at the red flashing lights, looking down the track, and waiting. Why? The fog was so thick that visibility was no more than a few feet. The lights warned of danger, train coming, and because no one could see down the track to know whether or not the train was moving, the drivers stopped to pay attention and wait.

     As we sat there in that thick cloud of fog while the train roared past, I thought about how God protected the Israelites with a cloud between them and Pharaoh’s army as they fled Egypt (Exodus 14:19-20), and I thought about how His Holy Spirit helps us today as seen in 2 Timothy 1:14 (KJV) “That good thing which was committed unto thee keep by the Holy Ghost which dwelleth in us.” Or as stated in the NIV “Guard the good deposit that was entrusted to you—guard it with the help of the Holy Spirit who lives in us.”

      When we pay attention, we realize that just like those flashing red lights are there to protect drivers from an oncoming train; God protects us from the dangers that lurk around us and from the traps that Satan places directly in our path. The warning lights are always there. It is up to me and you to decide whether or not we choose to rush across the tracks and take our chances or slow down and, through the covering and indwelling of God’s Holy Spirit, heed that warning and make the right choice.
     We live in a dangerous world. So today, I leave you with a prayer:

     Father I thank you for your written Word and the road signs you have already placed before us. Thank you for the warnings given throughout your Word. As we read them, please give us the wisdom to heed them. Lord, help us have the courage to live a life of conviction and obedience in observance of your warning signs. Before we step into the path of danger, please help us see the warning signs. We see that your Word is filled with examples of how to live and how not to live—warning signs. Thank you. We pray for the wisdom to STOP and look in all directions when we see those spiritual red lights flashing—warning-danger! I pray in the name of Jesus, who lived a life warning the world of the consequences of sin and who died for the redemption of all who would believe in Him. Amen.

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