For at least a dozen years, I daydreamed of gliding past awe-inspiring scenery in a posh passenger train.
A ride on Amtrak seemed a fitting party favor for celebrating forty-three years of marriage. Bound for Seattle on the final leg of our anniversary trip, my hubby and I boarded a non-stop rail ride in Vancouver, British Columbia.
I pressed my nose to the glass, centered on the surroundings as the behemoth shuddered from its perch in the station and rumbled through the train yard. Anticipation fluttered my insides as we rocked and swayed through the industrial area of Vancouver, where thick trees shrouded the suburban backdrop.
True to my daydreams, we glided past fairy tale villages. Baskets full of blooming pink and purple petunias adorned the homes and business on one side of the track. On the other, sailboats dotted the sea. Peninsulas draped in pine trees framed the water.
All too soon, the rails carried us beyond the baskets and the azure ripples along the peaceful shore.
Boards laid helter-skelter on the slope of the concrete piling at an underpass. Then the track rolled behind a warehouse. I winced at the sight of weeds, partial pallets, and tangles of plastic wrap. I didn’t want to see heaps of garbage. Give me back the flowerpots and the peaceful piers, the underpinning of my daydreams and romantic notions.
Still an hour short of our destination, the train stopped.
There—amidst the rubble.
Over the train’s intercom, the conductor explained our delay—police activity at the depot up ahead.
Twenty-five minutes later, we pulled into the station in Everett where a woman boarded, hissing like a teakettle letting off steam. “Unbelievable! That teenager was up there for an hour.” She huffed. “They should’ve just let him jump.”
My breath caught. I couldn’t have heard the woman correctly.
A hurting, desperate boy had been standing on the guardrail of an overpass, threatening to jump. And she placed more value on her convenience than on his young life?
Indignation fed my self-righteousness but not for long. My stomach roiled in recognition of a woman not far removed from the one hissing and huffing two rows up.
“And all are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.“
Romans 3:24 NIVAll are justified freely by His grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus. Romans 3:24 Click To Tweet
How many people had I denied a touch of grace because I didn’t want to look at another mess?
How often have I scurried to my scheduled stop, placing my comfort above the anguish of a passerby, friend, or family member?
That teenager on the overpass needed a grace-soaked believer to step into his mess and offer hope.
We all do.When obedience to God means a detour or delay, what then? Click To Tweet
I shudder at the thought of where we’d be if from the glory of heaven Jesus looked down on His creation two thousand plus years ago, shielded His eyes from the mess, and chose to focus instead on the angelic praise music flowing from harps and lyres.
Our great God doesn’t run from a mess.Our Great God doesn't run from a mess. I'm thankful. You? Click To Tweet
From birth in a stable with King Herod set on annihilating Him to trudging up a hill laboring under the cross He carried on His back, Jesus jumped heart-first into our separation from God, the consequence of our sin. With a fierce love for us, Jesus closed the gap with His sacrifice and sealed the chasm shut.
Jesus was all about doing the will of His Father, even when obedience meant delays, detours, even devastation.
Lord, help me set aside my agenda, follow Your lead through the beauty and into the messes of life with Your message of hope.
Click here to read When Your Plans Go Sideways: 3 Secrets to Finding Your Feet Again.