“Enter ye in at the strait [narrow] gate: for wide is the gate, and broad is the way, that leadeth to destruction, and many there be which go in thereat: Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it.” (Matthew 7:13-14)
Life on Planet Earth is similar to being in a train station. No matter what happens here, the most important thing is to take the right train to the right destination.
Will we take the Glory Train to Heaven? Or will we take the other train, which goes to Hell?
Back in the 1960s, I would often take a train from Washington, DC in order to visit my Mom’s parents in New York City and my Dad’s parents in Connecticut. The train stations were busy, noisy places with a lot going on.
I would go to the station, get a seat, and listen for the loud speaker to announce “Train now leaving for New York on track ___.” Those announcements were often difficult to hear because of the noise, and because the quality of the sound was not good. In addition, some of the announcers spoke rapidly and were difficult to understand. As a result, you really had to focus on listening carefully in order to catch your train. If you were not at the right track at the right time, then you would miss it.
While waiting in train stations, sometimes I would be sitting next to pleasant people who wanted to talk. At other times the people around me had no interest in fellow passengers. Occasionally I would be within hearing distance of unpleasant people who talked about immoral things, using nasty language. When that happened, I was a captive audience, unless I could find a seat somewhere else.
One time I was in a small station in Virginia that was so busy that I wound up having to stand the entire time. That was no fun. It was tiring, and hard on my feet, even though I was young at the time. It would have been a real hardship for an older person who had health problems.
Some people had children with them, including babies. They had to keep track of their children, comfort restless babies, and still keep carefully listening for the announce¬ment of their train.
Modern train stations have big screens showing what track a train is on. As a result, you don’t have to depend on hearing what was said during a brief announcement. Instead, you can look at the screens at any time to find out what is going on. But back then, it was very different. Everything depended on hearing that announcement.
No matter what was going on in the station in general, and with you personally, the most important thing was to get to the right track at the right time, in order to get on the right train for the right destination. Everything else was very secondary.
Did it matter whether you had a pleasant time or a difficult time while waiting for your train? Of course it did. It was right to do whatever you could to get a good seat, be around nice people, and have something to eat if you were hungry. But the important thing was to get on the right train and arrive at the right destination. Compared to that, everything else was of little importance. You might have a nice time while waiting, or you might have to endure some physical or emotional hardship. But whatever the case, the essential thing was to get on the right train.
As I said before, Planet Earth is like a train station. There are two trains, with two very different destinations. One is the Glory Train that goes to Heaven. The other is the train to Hell. A country song calls it the “long black train.” 1
If you miss the Glory Train to Heaven, then you will wind up on the bad train that goes to Hell.
Like a train station, life on earth is busy, with a lot of different things going on at the same time. It is easy to become so engrossed in those things that we forget that one of these days, we will leave earth and go to Heaven or Hell. It is easy to get so caught up in day-to-day things that we forget about Eternity.
There is a simple key to dealing with the things that cause us to become frustrated, discouraged, or fearful. We need to keep the big picture in mind.
We need to make a conscious effort to see things in terms of Eternity. That will give us the right perspective. And having that perspective will impact what we do, how we feel, and how we respond to hardship and trials of various kinds.
1. Josh Turner, “Long Black Train” (song on YouTube.)
NOTE: This is a chapter from the book “How to Fight Discouragement” by Maria Kneas. She also wrote “Prepare for Persecution,” which has a Foreword by Douglas Hagmann. Both books are available on Amazon.
LINKS ON AMAZON
Prepare for Persecution