One of my weekly routes about town leads over a train track. Though I always think I time it right, I have many times been stuck, waiting on the train to pass. I usually take the moment to sing one of my favorite childhood songs, my mother sang with me on such occasions:
Little red caboose chug, chug, chug. Little red caboose chug, chug, chug
Little red caboose behind the train.
Smoke comes out its stack, stack, stack, stack. Running down the track, track, track, track. Little red caboose behind the train.
And when you hear the whistle, you feel just like a king, And when you hear that bell blow, you really want to sing, about that…Little red caboose chug, chug, chug, Little red caboose chug, chug, chug, Little red caboose behind the train!
Thank you for letting me digress a bit there. I do love that song.
What makes us patiently wait for a train?
Usually, it’s because we know it’s going to come to an end eventually.
Why, then do we so quickly lose patience in life? Why do we lose patience in suffering?
Don’t we know that this too shall pass? We need to trust God for the strength to go through the hard times, knowing that he’s going to bring even this to an end.
Yet, maybe we also struggle because the end scares us. Whether, the end means a return to normal, a future of struggles, or eventual death, only in Christ can we have peace in the midst of the trial along with the final result.
When I think about suffering and seeing no end in sight, I think of Joseph. First, he’s thrown into a well by his brothers, then he’s sold as a slave and taken to another country. He’s accused of a crime and thrown into prison, and even when he interprets a dream for a fellow prisoner, he waits years more before he’s remembered and freed.
When the train of trials started down the track for Joseph, he couldn’t just sing a couple of choruses of Kum ba ya and find release. His life would never be normal again.
But in his time of patiently living a life of integrity in the midst of trials, God worked on him and would ultimately use him to save his own people.
If you’re praying for this pandemic to hurry up and get done, God may be teaching you to sit back, instead, to see what he might want to teach you through this time. Yes, it will come to an end, but that end may not look like what we expect.
Growing impatient to find normal may cause God to lead you down a path of added opportunities to learn patience and trust in suffering.
When we trust him in the midst of the struggle, we can rest assured that the end will be the one that brings him the glory, and that’s much better than anything normal.
Grace and Peace