Outside some of the most beautiful sights I had ever seen paraded by as I watched from my seat in a rickety, old train chugging through the Alps of eastern France.
It was September, 1981 and we’d just left the security of Pittsburg, Texas to launch out on a great adventure to preach the gospel in the little country of Luxembourg. First, though, we had to learn a language they could readily understand so we were headed for a French language school in the little city of Albertville.
Mountains rose majestically all around as our train rolled it’s well-worn path though these fir-tree covered sentinels. I’d only seen sights like this in pictures and paintings before this trip.
Somehow though, the wonder had leaked out of my heart. It’s one thing to say, “Yes!” to the Lord’s call in the heat of commitment and prayer. It’s another to leave behind family, friends, and everything you’ve ever known to go to a place where you don’t know enough of the language to ask where the toilettes are located. (That’s a story for another day).
Three jet-lagged kids aged nine, seven, and six sprawled like cadavers on the seats behind me. My wife looked kind of “cadaverous” herself as she dozed near me. I’m glad I didn’t have a mirror.
And there, contemplating the overwhelming beauty of God’s creation, I thought, “What have I done? I won’t get to see my family for four years. Goodbye tacos and corn chips. Goodbye Dallas Cowboys (which can be seen as a sort of blessing).”
I don’t know when I’ve ever felt as forlorn as I did on that train ride from Chambery to Albertville.
Adventures are much more fun to read about than to live through.
Flash forward 28 years. Those kids have grown up, left home and founded their own families. They love the Lord.
That thirty-one year old that I was, has gray hair, a white moustache and wrinkles. His wife, though, has gotten even prettier. Women are exceptions to most rules.
It would take quite a few books to recount all that’s happened but you know what? I’ve made a humongously important discovery. Hang on. Get ready for it. You may want to sit down. Here it comes ….
GOD IS FAITHFUL!
How I wanted to quit and go home that day in the Alps! I’m glad I didn’t.
Maybe you’re starting something and suddenly you’re seeing that it may not be quite as easy as you had imagined. Perhaps you’re thinking you ought to be reasonable and just give it up and be normal like everyone else.
If you really believe that God told you to do that thing, I’ve got a little advice for you. Don’t quit. You’ve got a Secret Weapon.
“God wasn’t attracted to you and didn’t choose you because you were big and important—the fact is, there was almost nothing to you. He did it out of sheer love, keeping the promise he made to your ancestors. God stepped in and mightily bought you back out of that world of slavery, freed you from the iron grip of Pharaoh king of Egypt. Know this: God, your God, is God indeed, a God you can depend upon. He keeps his covenant of loyal love with those who love him and observe his commandments for a thousand generations.” (Deut. 7:9, The Message)
Don’t quit without using your weapon.
“We profess to be strangers and pilgrims, seeking after a country of our own, yet we settle down in the most un-stranger-like fashion, exactly as if we were quite at home and meant to stay as long as we could. I don’t wonder apostolic miracles have died. Apostolic living certainly has.”
— Amy Carmichael