I was walking this morning and heard the rumble of a train. Not unusual. Living in central Illinois, where the land is flat and sound travels across the plains easily, I hear several trains a day. I have to cross the tracks at least twice when I walk. I speed up or slow down when I think I’ll get caught at one of the crossings. So when I heard the rumble, I looked ahead to find out where the train was and gauge my speed.
I looked ahead and found the train…and it was no ordinary train. It was an Amtrak! Now that might not seem odd for many of you, but we don’t live near tracks used by passenger trains. We have freight trains. They usually sound their piercing whistles miles in advance of crossings and noisily speed along as the weight of their loads rock along the tracks with a rhythmic clickety-clack. So why was a passenger train on the tracks?
I called my mom, who lives about 40 miles from me. She’s one of the few people who would be available at that time and wouldn’t think I was nuts for calling her for such an insignificant reason. When she answered, I blurted, “You’re not going to believe what I just saw! An Amtrak on the freight train tracks!”
“Susan, don’t you read your newspaper?”
Well, no, I don’t on a regular basis…made worse by the fact my daughter works in the newspaper office. Apparently, my mom had read the paper when she was at my house one evening weeks ago and learned the Amtrak was being re-routed through our area because of high speed rails being laid to go through her town.
I was caught off guard when I saw the wrong train on the wrong tracks. And yet, it wasn’t the wrong train on the wrong tracks at all. I just didn’t have all the information.
I started thinking about other times I respond in surprise, argument or irritation because I’m misinformed. Or it’s not that I have the wrong information. I might not have the information I need – because I haven’t sought it – to be aware of what’s accurate or true around me.
Failing to read the newspaper holds me back from knowing there’s a problem with our drinking water, a required detour, an opportunity to get rid of items otherwise not accepted by the waste disposal company, or a community fundraiser or big sale at the local discount store.
How does failing to read God’s Word hold me back?
I don’t want to be misinformed or underinformed. To be honest, I don’t want to be overinformed either if it means I’m gathering lots of information without discerning the difference it makes in my life. I want to be familiar. Familiar with God’s Word. Familiar with God’s will. Familiar with God’s character. Familiar with God.
I don’t want to react to the wrong train on the wrong track when it’s part of the plan.