Do you complain about the journey at times? Do things take too long or trap you in the slow lane? Does it seem much harder to make the progress you are hoping for? Then consider this prophetically inspired fictional allegory….
You are waiting on the platform for an express train to get you quickly to your destination. Then an announcement informs that the express train has been cancelled and alternative arrangements need to be made. To your disappointment there are no good connections and so you set off on the slow train to get as far as you can.
To get you through the long hours of grinding progress you read a magazine someone has left behind. An article piques your interest and you devour it with delight.
Since the slow train only goes so far, you find yourself waiting on a lonely platform for the mail train. You buy a coffee and find an old man to chat with. He fills you in on some of the local history, which doesn’t interest you. He extols the virtue of the local produce which is made into a special dish at a fancy restaurant in the big city. Once he has spelled the exotic name it sticks in your head, despite your attempts to think of something else. Thankfully the mail train finally arrives and you chug off into the darkness.
You wake from a doze to hear a mother arguing with her child. She appeals to you for assistance and you get drawn into her unhappy encounter. When you do help her quiet her child she thanks you by giving you a ticket to a theatre show where her brother has a lead role, in the city you are heading to.
Then, in the early morning you have to change trains yet again.
While waiting for the next connection you are approached by a talkative salesman whose voice keeps you awake with its grating tone. He extols the wonders of various products he has sold over the years and outlines the various failings each one has. You manage to get away from him by going to the bathroom.
The annoying fellow has found someone else to talk with and you end up in a quiet chat with a young lady who tells you about the university course she is about to start. You nod off for a few minutes and are relieved to hear your train approaching.
You try to catch some sleep on the last connection, while you fight off feelings of resentment toward the rail system. Your express train would have deposited you quickly and effortlessly to your destination. You have now had to endure an ordeal that takes you back to your days as a poor student. That memory prompts you to look out for the young lady who is going off to university. You find her and pass her a small amount of money, which you are sure she could do with.
As you approach the final station a chap informs you of the big fire incident overnight, filling you in with details which he claims are true, since his brother knows a security guard at the premises.
At the Destination
Your trip has been a disaster. You missed the good night’s rest you needed and all your plans were taken out of your hands, which makes you feel uncomfortable. You would have arranged a much more satisfying set of circumstances.
When you arrive for the scheduled business meeting several things come together, much to your surprise. You are asked to give a short presentation, and you use the insights you gained from the magazine article. Someone laments that there are so few sales opportunities for his particular product range and you suggest that he target people who are using a particular installation which you know to be faulty, thanks to the talkative salesman. You also suggest that he follow up with the management of the building which burned overnight, since their installation was destroyed in the fire and they have to be fully operational asap, no matter the cost. You even suggest a name that he should contact.
Your contributions attract the interest of businessman from out of town who suggests he would like to talk over some things in a social setting. You suggest the peculiar name of a unique dish that he could sample with you and offer to take him to a show where he can go backstage to meet one of the lead actors.
As you and several others step out of the building, several hours later, the young university student sees you and hurries over to thank you for your kind generosity. This leaves a powerful impression with the others, that you are a person of good character and compassion.
Moral of the Story
We choose the path of least resistance and most comfort for ourselves. We like convenience and speedy progress. Yet God sees the big picture and He may well derail our plans, sending off on what seem like useless detours. Yet God is actually taking us on a course of His making, where we can harvest many rich blessings we would otherwise never know.
It might be a good idea to trust Him and commit your way to Him, rather than force your own plans.
I crafted this story from an idea passed to me by my son in Germany…. “There was a prophecy in church last Sunday that was a picture of someone taking a train from A to B. They were expecting an express train that would take them directly and comfortably to their destination, but instead they found themselves changing from one slow train to another, often with long stops at out-of-the-way railway stations. The prophecy went on to say that the person often felt frustrated and wondered why he had to waste so much time. Along the way, at the various stops and on the various trains, he met different people and encountered situations that would not have come up on the express train. When he finally did reach his destination, all of the events and meetings from the trip proved to have been necessary, and he was only able to fulfil his purpose at the destination because of the encounters during the trip. The conclusion was that we may sometimes wonder about the detour and loss of time, but the truth is that God is taking us by the fastest and most direct route that fulfils all of his requirements. It is not a detour at all, and no time is being wasted.”