Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Train-Stopping Message

My husband, Les, stood beside the railroad tracks holding a long “Y” stick high while a speeding train thundered toward him, quaking the ground and the wind from the locomotive flapping his clothes. The engineer stretched his arm out the engine window and stuck it through the Y. His arm hooked the twine Les had inserted in the upper arms of the stick with a message attached.
            The message told the railroad crew to pull the train into a siding to allow an oncoming freight to pass or to beware of a hazard ahead such as a rockslide or a train going the same direction.
           Dispatchers and telegraph operators like Les used Morse code to help direct train movements before Centralized Traffic Control was invented and installed. Today CTC allows a dispatcher to govern a whole state’s train movements electronically.
            Like the railroad traffic lights of today or the train messages Les tied in twine, I’ve found God sends important messages through the Holy Spirit’s whispers, through pastors, teachers, the Word, or circumstances.  Some messages are wonderful news. But there also are warnings.
          It’s up to me to grab them and apply them to my life.
         I am a writer and often the Lord talks to me when I’ve having my devotions. I used to feel guilty when I jumped up from my knees to scribble an idea. Yet, when I take time to develop these ideas, see them published and people are encouraged, I understand I  listened to His voice.
         Sometimes, however, the Lord reminds me to pray for and contact someone who is going through a difficult time. That’s His Spirit speaking, too.
        His Word frequently talks to me about my spiritual growth and one verse that frequently runs through my mind is, “Let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak and slow to wrath” (James 1:19) and Jesus’s command to love God, then my neighbor as myself.