Just a few short years ago I was turning 30 in the most romantic city in the world. Although, I was stepping into a new decade (without a mate...in Paris, France - whoa is me), I was honored to be able to share this night with some of my favorite people in the world! My friends and i spent the day touring the Louvre, picnicking at the base of the eiffel tower, visiting the majestic sacre coeur, and enjoying a sophisticated french meal. I was overflowing with love and full of blessing. Just as soon as I thought the day couldn't have been any more exciting, we had one more adventure in store that none of us could have predicted...
My two girl friends and i left our group at the Eiffel tower pretty late. Unfortunately, in all of our joy, we failed to consider the most crucial element of the evening.... our returning transportation. We knew we could catch a series of trains to get back to the place we were staying, but the thought of those trains taking a rest for the late evening didn't even cross our minds. UNTIL... we saw everyone running for the last train (or so we thought). As soon as a few people began to whiz by, we caught on and followed....in super sonic warp speed. I'm sure we looked pretty funny with panic smeared across our faces at the alarming thought of missing our only ride and being stuck in downtown Paris with nowhere to go (more creepy than romantic after city hours). We ran as fast as our little American legs would take us.
We were so relieved to see the train still in it's station announcing it's final boarding call (or something like that) in french. We dove onto the train seconds before the door shut. Our rejoicing quickly turning into perplexity as we looked out the windows and noticed people blankly starring back. Our confusion fused into terror as we then realized that we were the ONLY 3 PEOPLE ON THE WHOLE TRAIN!!! Are you kidding me???? This was about the same time the lights starting flickering and turned completely black. All we could see now where the whites of our eyes which was plenty of evidence to reveal our state of sheer panic. Several minutes later our subway screeched to a halt in what looked like a train cemetery. Boxcar children series gone creepy. Greeeeeeeat. As soon as we stopped our Macgyver instinct must have set in as we all began looking for ways to escape. Since I didn't have chewing gum (hope you're all catching the 80's references, haha) I naturally gravitated to the windows to look for air, call for help, and possibly find a way to get out. One friend proceeded to pull every last emergency thingy, while the other one was trying to pry the doors open with her fingernails. We felt pretty helpless and pitiful until we finally got one of the doors open... then we pretty felt like Charlie's angels.
Our little adventure only got creepier as we exited the train and squeezed onto a tiny silver platform. At this point we started arguing about what to do next. In all of my brilliance I suggested we follow the tracks back to the station and pray that we could find our way from there. Thank God they didn't listen to me. And just like in a Hitchcock film, the shadow of a tall man stepped out of the door onto the platform where we were standing (as if there were enough room for one more shady character). For what felt like minutes He stood there laughing with this deep voice, shaking his keys, and saying something in french (i knew i should have paid more attention in class). The man opened each door door with ease using his magical keys... and we blindly followed him back through the train. Thankfully, He looked less like a murderer and a little more like a saint as we stepped into the light. Half way down the train we found another sweet little lost couple who had made the same mistake we had. We finally made it back to the front (or back??) of the train and the very generous man drove us back to the station so we could find our way home.
Praise God there was one more train that would take us home SWEET home. That night as I lay in the comfort and refuge of my bed, I thought about that conductor. I wondered how often that might happen to him, and if he always drives the lost puppies back to safety. I also thought about how easy it is to get lost when you are in a hurry, can't read the signs, or understand the foreign announcements for transportation termination. Then I thought about how similar life is to this kooky experience. Most of the time we are in a hurry to get somewhere, do something, or be somebody. The very word of God seems foreign to us unless a pastor or author can translate it. And how often we misunderstand the very one that created us out of His love. Before you know it, we hop on the wrong train going nowhere and have absolutely no idea how to get back. Frustration, guilt and fear set in as we wonder how in the world we ended up here once again.
But just like the story of the prodigal son, our Father sees our humble broken desire to return home and runs after us with all His might! Every single time we are lost, confused, or frightened is another opportunity to run to Jesus. My faith, love and trust for Him grows as He rescues, forgives, and leads me home. And the more time we spend in communion with Him, the more we will begin to feel found, redeemed, rested and adored in the arms of our loving Savior.
B90: (Psalm 102-119:80) David often suggested we "remember the wondrous works that He has done," and never failed to repeat the testimony of the Lord up until this point in history. As we, not only remember the testimonies of the bible, but also recount what God has done in our own lives we are symbolically driving a stake into the ground. This stake will not only glorify God in it's representation of His promises fulfilled, but it will also be a place to revisit in moments of forgetfullness. A place the helps you remember what He has done and what He can do. No matter how lost, confused or broken we think we are... we can ALWAYS return to that place. Even better than that, Jesus (if we ask) will be our own personal guide back to that solid stake in the ground. After all, that's the same stake that was pulled out from His hands. How then can we not trust the one who will lead us home? His promises are good, His portion was enough, and He will NEVER stop loving the heck out of us!
"Bless the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your iniquity, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life fro the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's. The Lord works righteousness and justice for all who are oppressed. He made known his ways to Moses, his acts to the people of Israel. The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love. He will not always chide, nor will he keep his anger forever. He does not deal with us according to our sins, nor repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is his steadfast love toward those who fear him..." Psalm 103: 2-11