When my dad passed away, he went so rapidly after a long steady pace of decline. The Lord’s timing is the Lord’s.
I did talk to my dad twice that morning. When he passed unexpectedly just after lunch. I was over halfway driving there, he knew that I was on my way. I am SO GLAD that I did have 4 days vacation to visit with him, and my family, WITH the kids just 2 weeks prior, a great trip. I told the kids that I needed to see their grandfather watching their grandmother giving them hugs. And THANK GOD for post-covid vaccination timing! Whew.
I had this devotion in my head processing about my trip while driving up (I thought in time), about me being the caboose and getting up there after a steady train, a parade, of friends in a farewell tour of love, but the Lord (once again) showed me that HIS Timing is above my timing, HIS Ways are well above ours always so we should always expect His timing, not ours.
Everyone asked “Did you get there in time?” Well, NO but YES. Not my timing, never was. Not my Dad’s timing either, he probably would have stayed in this world longer but his body gave out. It was and IS clear that when the Lord leaves the station, He pulls out. Can you catch the ride late? YES, Jesus is continually grabbing every hand He can, one soul at a time. And Jesus is EXCELLENT at making the catch.
Could my timing have been better? Of course, but clearly I was being my human self in a human world. However, our Lord is LORD and it is like my processing about being that caboose: God does not need the caboose to run the rail, but oh how blessed that He does want us to ride with Him.
My Dad LOVED railroads. My Grandfather was an engineer, a fireman young then the engineer. My Dad the youngest of many sons. Everything train train train has been awesome in my life. Except getting stuck behind one. My Subaru even has a railway spike in the pen holder. And the VBS theme this year is Railroad! And I will track alongside with friends. My Dad’s life embraced trains, he sometimes got railroad passes in the 1950’s and 60’s to ride anywhere. He loved the caboose. Me too.
I thought while driving up, I was like the caboose of the family, right? I was supposed to get there before He passed. I am the youngest right? The caboose? The end? Nope… I was both human in my timing and held up by getting my ducks in a row, getting my cars on the tracks aligned. I got to the house, but he had passed away like 2 hours before. I processed that with the Lord immediately for me to feel not surprised. They didn’t want to tell me, I was driving 5 hours in the rain, they wanted me safe. I had planned to travel the following day but it was a sudden shift in his health. Got the call, packed, showered, put oil and gas in the car. Called twice while on the road. They told me he heard me, motioned that he did. I walked in the door, then learned he was gone, I hugged mom and her tears so needed, I went to sit with him. Surreal. I then did the math, no, I could NOT have made it “in time” for his final breaths, no, not without me AND my car out of breath. I did the math, I would have missed his last minutes by 5 minutes if my timing was perfect. Well, my timing is NEVER perfect. Plus it was POURING RAIN, so of course I slowed down as my dad would have me slow. (Yes Dad, I have good tires on my car too). Yes, my Dad 100% would have had me be safe, make sure my kids and work duties were ok and to NOT RUSH. Important work calls I needed/wanted to take on the road, I took them. I settled my kids schedules too, made sure all emergency plans fell into place. My Dad 100% said to take care of my kids. I did. I did.
My Dad AND Our Father God both like us to have our ducks in a row so that HE can clear the path forward. He wants us ready to go. God doesn’t need me loaded onto His train to pull out of the station, but He WANTS me to catch a ride.
I did that math like 3 times, whether I had or should I have had time to cut, but I didn’t with the kids, the work, the rain, the car, me, and especially God – no you CAN’T stop the rain or a train. I was also stopped at the last moment by (you guessed it), a TRAIN. I was stuck waiting for a TRAIN at the same intersection where my Grandfather’s train ran for years and years. A TRAIN – oh, I SAT… oh, Your Ways Lord, Your Ways... I took a pic, cute Lord cute. You are telling me (again) that this is YOUR TIMING, not mine. You don’t punish Lord, but you certainly do instruct.
You. Your rest, Your mercy Lord, Your Peace. There is none higher. You are the engineer, the engine, the WHOLE track. You are running this line on Your Timetable. I’m not the actual caboose as much as I am simply standing ON the caboose waving at the people, encouraging them to join a ride. I’m NOT driving myself in this life, I am a passenger passing thru this world. And the baggage car? The Lord left it at the station. He only wants us on board.
Most importantly, my Dad is now on Your Train, Lord. You had your sights on him always. You punched His ticket. He’s got not a free ride but one bought by Your blood, and pursued by all those in prayer. What a rally we pray for those running to catch the train, His Train. Those strong grips You provided on the caboose, Lord, are golden. Thank You.
The caboose is cute, but it IS the ENGINE that pulls the load. I am happy to be on Your Line Lord. Power our lives. Let us hear Your whisper whistle.
Thank You Lord.