The last train ride I had taken was when I was 16 years old, so although I was somewhat excited to ride a train again, years of only flying to destinations had spoiled me. Like a presumptive senior citizen, I announced to the man behind the train counter that I wanted the largest bag checked and sent directly to my final destination, but I would be taking the smaller carry-on bags with me.
A condescending smile came over his face; his head went down slightly, his eyes focused on me over his spectacles…..”Mam, this is a train and you will be responsible for all of your bags for the entire ride.” I processed this in my mind for a few seconds and then reworded my request, assuming he hadn’t understood my intentions…. but unfortunately, nothing changed.
So I dragged both suitcase, a purse, an ipad case, and my newly purchased fashionable lunch cooler full of snacks and water over to the waiting area.
I scolded myself for bringing so much with every step as I stumbled my way to an empty seat. This wasn’t anything like I had remembered as a teenager! But determined to make a positive adventure out of this, I waited patiently with a two hour train delay.
I knew that God had called me to this Speak – Up Conference in MI and I was ready for whatever He had for me. I was however beginning to wonder if I had prayed enough about my choice in transportation.
Finally, boarding the train, I struggled walking the length of 9 train cars to get to mine. This is it, I told myself, I have got to get back to Curves when I get home, I am so out of shape! With labored breath, I looked helplessly at the Porter for some help. It must not be in their job description to lift suitcases onto the train. But he finally took pity on me and lifted the big one up. After much effort, the big bag was on and in the compartment they had us put them in, but then to my horror…
I had to carry the rest up the narrow winding stairs to the top level of the train. The challenge was the small bag weighed almost as much as the one I had just stuffed into the shelves below and I had three other bags hanging from my shoulders and my neck making me get STUCK. Unable to move up or down with people behind me waiting – a hot flash hit. I pushed forward and upward with all the strength I could muster (the sweat from the hot flash probably helped) and I finally made it to the top. Oh my – what a site!
As I reflect on that process, and visualize the ridiculous scene in my head, it makes me laugh. There were more train and bus incidences for that trip that would provide comic relief but I want to assure you that God had some “Divine Appointments” on my train rides so I hadn’t missed HIM. It all builds character, right?
But it also makes me think about the excess baggage we carry around in our adventure of life.
Baggage that trips us up, causes us pain, gets us stuck, and usually sends a distorted view of Christianity.
The truth is, unlike the reluctant train porter, we have a willing and able God, ready to lighten our load, carry our burdens, straighten our paths, and give us confidence and a peaceful joy that redirects His great love and grace to others.
The ticket is…..to dwell in His Word, to claim His promises, to relax in His presence and trust HIM. Here are just a few scriptures that remind us of these truths:
Praise be to the Lord, to God our Savior, who daily bears our burdens.
For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”
Cast your cares on the Lord and he will sustain you; he will never let
the righteous be shaken.
You yourselves have seen what I did to Egypt, and how I carried you on eagles’ wings and brought you to myself.
The Lord is good, a refuge in times of trouble. He cares for those who trust in him.
Blessings to you all….and for your information, I am now building up my sky miles. 🙂