God used my recent visit to Enid, Oklahoma, to remind me of a deep spiritual truth.
Like many American towns, Enid is divided by train tracks. I took this photo on a beautiful evening, as I walked near the tracks. What you can’t see in the picture is that the tracks make a sharp left-hand turn ahead, and then they disappear into the trees.
From my perspective, this prompted several unanswered questions.
What was around the corner? Where will this track end? Is there a bridge ahead, perhaps a railroad crossing, or maybe a railroad switch?
I was quickly reminded that life feels like this sometimes, especially during times of struggle.
Scripture teaches that the Lord’s timing is perfect. There is a profound peace that our faith provides. There is also a distinctive joy that we experience when we rest in His timing.
Many of our persecuted family members experience peace and joy in spite of incredible pressure.
They believe that the Lord is in control of our tracks, and even our timing on the tracks. The key for us, and for them, is to learn to trust him for each portion of the track that He has placed us on.
Isaiah 55:12a reminds us that when the Lord leads us, our journey will be marked by joy and peace: “For you shall go out with joy, and be led out with peace.”
Historically, many believers have met death with peace and joy that was remarkable. John Oldcastle was arrested for his faith in England in September of 1413 and brought to trial. He knew that if convicted, he would be put to death.
When asked to ascribe to beliefs that were contrary to Scripture, John replied assuredly: “I will none otherwise believe in these points than I told you afore. Do with me what ye will…though ye judge my body…yet I am certain that ye can do no harm to my soul. He that created that will of his infinite mercy save it; I have therein no manner of doubt. Concerning these articles, I will stand to them to the very death by the grace of my God.”
John Oldcastle was convicted and sentenced to death. Interestingly, he escaped from the Tower of London and evaded capture for four years. But, following his recapture, he was hanged and then burned.
John’s unflinching response in the face of death points to the authenticity of our faith, and it cannot be explained away.
We can’t see the future, we can’t see around the bend, but we can rest assured that our Lord is in control of the tracks and that everything we encounter is cleared by Him!
YOUR TURN: What are some practical ways that we can remind ourselves to depend on God when we don’t know what the future holds? How have you seen the Lord faithfully provide for you in the past when you couldn’t see where the tracks were leading? Share your thoughts in the comments to this post.
Dr. Jason Peters serves in VOM’s International Ministries department, traveling frequently to meet with our persecuted brothers and sisters around the world. He has ministered in 35 countries, as diverse as Cuba, India, Nepal, Saudi Arabia, Burma, Sri Lanka, Colombia, Kyrgyzstan, Bangladesh, Thailand, Indonesia and Nigeria. Before joining VOM’s team, Jason was a faculty member of the US Air Force Chaplain Corps College, where he directed Crisis and Trauma training. Jason, his wife, Kimberly, and their five children are actively engaged in standing with their persecuted sisters and brothers.