Monday, April 4, 2011

The Freight Train’s Coming – Get Off The Tracks!

Angie and I watched an excellent message from Pastor Mark Driscoll yesterday called Heaven and Hell. In the message, Pastor Mark discussed God’s wrath and how despite the fact that He is the God of love, there are many who live in the path of his wrath.

Angie and I took Zach for a walk a few hours later and we ended up walking down some train tracks, due in part to Zach’s current fascination with trains. The whole time we walked, the idea of God’s wrath hurtling down the tracks at all of us ran through my mind.

When I was a teenager, a friend and I were walking down some train tracks in Maryland late one Friday night. I remember hearing a small noise behind us and turned to see what it was, expecting to see a stray cat, dog or something equally mundane. What met my eyes was a fully loaded freight train, less than twenty feet behind us and coming fast.

I instinctively jumped off the tracks and yelled for my friend to do the same. For some reason, he didn’t react and stayed on the tracks. Thankfully, God had blessed me with a fair amount of athleticism and I jumped back onto the tracks just in time to pull my friend to safety as the train hurtled by, missing us by only a few feet.

It’s hard not to look back on my life and see the analogy there. For a long time I walked down the tracks, completely oblivious to the fact that God’s wrath was bearing down on me. Thankfully, a few people in my life were blessed with the spiritual athleticism to pull me out of the train’s path. But, there are some who refuse to get out of the way.

It’s like some people are determined to get run over when the freight train roars past. And, be assured, it’s coming whether you or I want to believe it or not.

Later on last night, we watched the first half of Pastor Max Lucado’s 3:16 video (a companion series to his book of the same name). Pastor Max unpacked John 3:16 in several ways, looking at each keyword in the verse.

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. – John 3:16

God doesn’t want any of us to live on the tracks. He doesn’t want any of us to get run over. In fact, his need to snatch us from the path of wrath is so strong, he sent his only son to die a horrible death in order to pull us out of harm’s way.

As we walk down the tracks, all we need to do is look over and we’ll see Jesus reaching for us, ready to pull us to safety. Hopefully, if you're reading this, you've already taken His hand.

But, maybe someone we know is like my old teenage friend, oblivious to the danger, even after we’ve jumped aside. Rest assured, Jesus wants us to get their attention and pull them over to Him.

Sure, God can do anything, but the sad truth is some people don’t trust Him enough to take His offer of salvation. But, maybe those people trust you or me enough to allow us to bridge the gap. Maybe, we can model our trust in him by stepping out in faith and always modeling a Christ-like testimony, so that our friends, relatives and acquaintances take notice. Maybe we can talk to them, when the time is right, and let them know what's hurtling down the tracks. Maybe we can pray that God would soften their hearts and provide us with the opening to tell them about God's love. Maybe we can get them to take His hand.

I sure hope so.

The other option is to stand and watch as they get run over by a freight train that’s heading no where anyone wants to spend eternity.

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