The Train Ride

“You are not stuck where you are unless you decide to be.”  Wayne Dyer

Last night I had a dream that really rattled me.

I was riding on a train.  As I was standing amongst the other passengers, I began to take notice of all the people that were standing and seated around me.  They varied in age and ethnic background.  There were old and young; couples, students and commuters.  What jumped out to me was the palpable feeling of hopelessness in their faces.  It was as if the entire train was completely downcast….

“Why, my soul, are you downcast?  Why so disturbed within me?  Put your hope in God; for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God.”  Psalm 42:5

I began to walk down the aisle and question the entire train.  “What’s wrong?  Are you okay?”  With a defeated look and and seemingly resigned to their fate, the unanimous response came:  “This train is going to explode and there is nothing we can do about it….”  I responded “Where is the emergency brake?  There is a way to stop this.”  As happens in dreams, I immediately found a cord and pulled it.

Moments later the train pulled into an empty station and the doors slid open.  As I backed out through the doors I pleaded with the other passengers, “C’mon!  The doors are open!  Get off the train!”  Not one person moved or even looked up.  It was as if I had become invisible.  The doors began to slide shut again and I desperately tried to hold them open, while frantically shouting, “Now is your chance!  Get off of the train!”  It was no use and after a few seconds I could not manage to hold the doors open any longer….and they slid closed in front of me.  I watched the train pull away from the station and after traveling about 100 yards down the track, it exploded into a huge ball of fire….

Over the course of my walk with Jesus I have been blessed with the opportunity to talk with many people about the hope of the Gospel message.  I don’t “confront” anyone.  Instead, I just try and engage people in conversation.  My hope is that I would feel approachable to them and that I would simply be able to meet people where they are.  I will often listen to their story and then share the hope we have through Jesus.  A hope that is so far beyond our present circumstances.  Many react with either a passive indifference or a visceral “anti-religion” response to which I gently counter with, “It’s not about religion, it’s about Jesus.” This comment often stuns them into a momentary silence.

Most have never thought about Jesus outside of the religious box that they’ve put Him in and they will sometimes equate Him to their negative or hurtful experiences with hypocritical Christians (not to burst anyone’s bubble but we’re all hypocrites at some point) or failures of the churches.  I politely remind them that it seems as if they’ve put their faith in the institution rather than the Man Himself.  They are not one and the same.  Sorry for the bit of a rabbit trail there….let’s get back on track….(see what I did there….?)  😀

The responses I tend to personally struggle with the most are those that recognize their need…”I know I’m a sinner” or  “I’m lost,” but they don’t want to change their course.  They see the need for a Savior but in their pride they don’t want to turn away from the things that are destroying their souls….so down the tracks they travel….

“Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe stands condemned already because they have not believed in the name of God’s one and only Son.  This is the verdict:  Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed”  John 3:18-20

How about you?  The doors of the train car are being held open for each of us but there is a limited amount of time for us to leave our seat and step off of the train.  You don’t have to be “good enough” to come to Jesus.  You can come with whatever past (or present) you drag behind you.  He will not turn you away.  He went to extreme lengths to be able to redeem you and to offer you a relationship with the Father.  He is the ONLY way to the Father.  Jesus Himself said that ‘I am the way, the truth and the life.  No one comes to the Father, except through me.’ (John 14:6) 

Let me emphasize this point:  You have no eternal hope without Christ.  No religious tradition (even “Christianity,” in a purely religious sense)….

“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven.  Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’  Then I will tell them plainly, ‘I never knew you.  Away from me, you evildoers!’  Matthew 7:21-23

….nor doing more “good” than bad will tip the scales in your favor.  Its not about what we can do in our own perceived self-righteousness.  This is the fruit of the “religious.”  It is only about what Jesus has done on our behalf.  We just need to be humble, recognize our need for Jesus to save us, be wiling to get off the train (turn from our sin) and respond to His invitation of salvation.  Picture it this way:

Imagine knocking on a stranger’s door one evening.  The door opens and you ask the owner of the house if you can come in and have dinner with he and his family.  Is he just going to let you in?

Now imagine your best friend inviting you over to his house to have dinner and meet his father and family.  Because you are friends with his son, you will be an honored guest of the father.  It’s who you know that makes all of the difference! 

Now please, please get off of the train….

“People will not be in Hell because God did not want them, but because they did not want God.” 

 

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