Corrie Ten Boom once said, “When a train goes through a tunnel and it gets dark, you don’t throw away the ticket and jump off. You sit still and trust the engineer.”
When I was a little girl, I was afraid of the dark. I always had a nightlight in my bedroom. This last fall, I realized that I’m still afraid of the dark—but in a different way. I’m afraid when I can’t see ahead in my life—when I don’t know what lies around the next bend or at the end of the tunnel. But I’m slowly learning that it’s those times of darkness in my life that God uses to teach me to trust Him more. Because He is the Train Engineer of my life.
You see, when I was 3 ½ years old, I decided to follow Jesus. I was blessed to be born into a Christian home, and I’ve attended Sunday School and church since the very first Sunday of my life. But going to church didn’t make me a Christian any more than going to McDonalds would make me a Big Mac.
I realized that though I knew all the stories about Jesus’ love, I had to make my own decision to follow Him. Even at that young age, I was aware that I was a sinner, in need of God’s forgiveness. So on May 11, 1987, with my mom beside me, I knelt down by our big brown plaid living room couch and prayed to ask Christ to be my Savior, the Engineer of my life. I had decided to follow Jesus, no turning back.
But as Aaron Wilkinson observed, “Being a Christian isn’t just a 30-second prayer repeated at some point in your life. Being a Christian is the daily act of submitting to Christ. It’s an ongoing relationship, not a one time meeting.”
In the sixteen years since I met Christ, I’ve been learning and growing in my relationship with Him. There have been many ups and downs, but no matter what, the Lord was always there. Everything He’s been teaching me through the years could be summed up in the title to my favorite hymn: “Trust and Obey.” Two simple words, with so much meaning.
The first few lines of the hymn read, “When we walk with the Lord in the light of His Word, what a glory He sheds on our way!” Looking back, I can see many times I’ve been “afraid of the dark.” Ups and downs at our church, my aunt and uncle’s divorce, hard times in our own family, and facing unknowns in the future. But God gave me just enough light for the step I was on. He shed light on my path in the end, and worked all things together for good. In retrospect, I see that He was always faithful.
The Psalms is one of my favorite parts of the Bible, because it records the prayers and praises of other pilgrims along the way. It seems there is a Psalm to fit whatever I’m going through. Reading King David’s psalms, I see that the man after God’s own heart was afraid of the dark at times, too. But he always came back to simply obeying, trusting in his God to light his path—and of course, God was always faithful to David, too.
The other day I read the story of a child who once asked another, “Would you be afraid to ride in the kind of chariot Elijah had?” “Not if God drove it,” was the reply. In the same way, I don’t need to be afraid when the train of my life goes through a tunnel—because God is driving.
So as I reflect on my past seeing where God has brought me, and look to the future and the dark, unknown path of tomorrow, my part is to trust the Engineer. I know that He will give me “just enough light for the step I’m on,” so I can continue to follow Jesus for the rest of my life, no turning back.