Barnabas Network International | Online Resources for Churches

Seeing Things Differently Now

An Epiphany On A Train.

Have you noticed how many of life's ordinary experiences can become living parables that illustrate profound truth? Epiphanies, if you like.

Epiphany: a sudden, intuitive perception of or insight into the reality or essential meaning of something, usually initiated by some simple, homely, or commonplace occurrence or experience.

This past week I have spent quite a few hours traveling by train. I'm not sure why but I can 'waste' hours watching the scenery as we pass through the countryside while my fellow passengers sleep, read, chat or whatever. Maybe it is because my grandfather was a train driver and I can still recall some of his tales of steam-driven locomotives, long before diesel and electric powered trains.

But I digress. In my reverie it occurred to me that the train driver has considerable power and authority but with limitations. He can determine when the train starts and stops. He can determine how fast or slow the train will travel. He can reverse the train if he chooses. He can even let the train get out of control and wreck it if he so chooses.

However, he cannot determine the direction the train will travel. He cannot determine the destination. That is determined by which tracks the train travels on and that, in turn, is controlled by a person in a control centre elsewhere. It is that person who switches the tracks.

As I reflected on these ideas, a Bible verse from the Old Testament began to push its way into my mind. This is what it says,

"In his heart a man plans his course,but the LORD determines his steps". Proverbs 16:9 NIV

I am not suggesting that our lives are controlled to the point that we should adopt a fatalistic approach towards life's journey as though our decisions and choices amounted to nothing in the grand scheme of things. In fact, I find a great deal of re-assurance rather than resignation in this truth.

If you are anything like me, you will find yourself nervous and hesitant when it comes to many of those forks in the road (train tracks?) and you are unsure which is the right choice. I find it re-assuring to know that there is One who knows the best track for me and He sets me in the right direction.He not only sets the direction but He also controls those "stop", "go" and "caution" lights along the way.

My earthly grandfather may have been a train driver but my heavenly Father is the One who sets the direction and brings me to my final destination. My part is to cooperate as I make my choices about how fast or slow I will allow my train to travel, guided by those lights along the way.

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