Bible and cross

On a summer’s evening nearly 50 years ago, my siblings and I were playing on our front lawn after a long day of farm work. My parents sat on their lawn chairs on the patio. A little ways down the road, past our house stood a railroad crossing. That evening a train had stopped, parked, as it were, at the crossing so it could unload grain at the feed mill a mile away. There were no flashing lights at all.

Suddenly my dad sat up in his chair and shouted, “There’s a car coming pretty fast down the road. We’d better warn him about the train.”

All of us ran to the road, waving and shouting, “Stop! Stop! There’s a train!”

The car sped past us. Four teenage boys inside waved at us, laughing and having the time of their lives, and unaware of the danger ahead. They were traveling far too fast to avoid a collision. The long 1971 car was crunched down to the size of a Volkswagen Beetle. Thank God all four boys survived.

Even after all these years, I am amazed that those silly boys completely disregarded our warnings. Didn’t they see the intensity on our faces? We weren’t laughing and happy as we shouted and waved to them, as if we were good friends. Everything about our entire family in that moment was grave, forceful and severe. But, in their ignorance, the boys overlooked our warnings and nearly drove themselves to their doom.

We did not try to warn those boys because we were being judgmental. Our family cared for the lives of whoever may be in that car, and warnings were issued out of compassion for them, not disdain.

Jesus Christ is called the Faithful and True Witness in Revelation 3:14. That means He faithfully shows us what is at stake in the realm of God, the reality of eternity. Jesus showed us the way out of death to life. In faith, we can follow Him.

Talking about such topics can make people feel uncomfortable. But something needs to change in the here and now. Watching the first presidential debate was painful. But politics has sunk low before, including in other times and places. Government won’t save us. Only God can do that.

Jesus Christ came to become for us a “new and living way,” that is, to be our access to God. In Jesus, we are now able to “draw near with a true heart, … hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering,” and to “stir up love and good works” (Hebrews 10:20-24).

Jesus makes it possible not to keep repeating the same self-defeating mistakes. God loves you enough to give you the choice of life through faith in Jesus Christ.

Dr. Tim Vanden Langenberg is pastor of Hope Family Church in Hutchinson.

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