By Lorraine Walker
On a bright, sunny afternoon in June, two coworkers of mine headed off to the local gym. Their route took them over a set of five railroad tracks in an area with caution lights and sirens but without crossarms to guard the tracks. They approached the tracks with caution as nearby buildings prevented a clear view of oncoming trains. The ladies slowly made their way across when suddenly a train was approached without warning. The engine clipped the back of the car, causing it to spin out. Although impact occurred at the gas tank of the car, there was no explosion. The occupants of the car were badly bruised and shaken, but fortunately they suffered no life-threatening injuries.
We came very close to losing two lovely ladies that day and it brought to mind again the usual thoughts when an accident occurs. If I was in that car and my life ended that day, would I have done everything that I should have in my lifetime? Do I fully live each day that I am given, or do I coast through the mediocre times, my focus on the past or on the future but not redeeming the time I am in? In an instant, my priorities would be crystallized and I would truly see what is real and eternal.
Life can change on a dime whether the train that hits us is literal or figurative. Sometimes we can see the difficult times looming ahead like we hear the clang of the crossing bell at the train tracks. Other times, there is no warning system at all and the pain hits us like a runaway train. Whether battered or completely crushed, our lives are changed in an instant and there is no going back. Life experiences can crush us and make things we thought were real and important become like dust. We soon discover whether everything we have trusted in is enough to save us from destruction.
If you are in the midst of an acute time of crisis, or traveling through a chronic period of continuous pain that leaves you weary, you soon realize that the promises of this world aren’t worth the paper they are written on. Systems fail, contracts are broken and governments fall. Even your closest friends and family may not live up to your expectations. The only sustainable, unfailing source of trust is the Almighty, Eternal God. When Jesus says He will be with you forever, He means it. He can be your Ultimate Strength, your Unfailing Hand and your Trusted Confidante.
Jesus said, “Blessed are you if you mourn, for you will be comforted.” A speaker I heard recently expanded on the thought of mourning, as it is more than being sorrowful for someone you have lost. It’s a sense of being crushed by the world and overcome by life experiences until you are unable to move on. That is when you need comfort, or someone beside you “with strength”, as the root of the word “comfort” implies. You need the strength of Jesus, and you need the strength of those who will come alongside you to life you up.
Whether you are the one who needs the strength of others or you are in a position to give that strength to someone in mourning, remember that Jesus is your Source. When you face the trains that will cross your path, don’t put your trust in what is around you. Put your trust in the One who will remain after the train goes by and the dust has settled.