A couple days ago, one of my friends posted the following quote on facebook:
“They say they built the train tracks over the Alps, between Vienna and Venice, before there was a train that could make the trip. They built it anyway. They knew one day the train would come.
Any arbitrary turning along the way and I would be elsewhere, I would be different. What are four walls, anyway? They are what they contain. The house protects the dreamer. Unthinkably good things can happen even late in the game. It’s such a surprise.”
— Frances Mayes
Did you catch that?
“They built it anyway.
They knew one day the train would come.“
The minute I read them, those words tattooed themselves onto my soul. I was reminded of the words of the apostle James, when he wrote that “…faith by itself, if not accompanied by action, is dead. But someone will say, ‘You have faith, I have deeds.’ Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds.” (James 2:17-18, NIV)
The faith that James is talking about here is goes beyond mere belief ( “You believe there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that…” – James 2:19, NIV) and actually transforms the life of the person. It is faith with feet. It walks and lives and carries out the commands of the King, because faith like that knows that Christ has come, He has conquered, and He is coming again. Reality was altered when a tomb was found empty some 2000 years ago, and people with faith not only acknowledge that reality but they live in it. The line was drawn, the teams were chose, and faith means choosing to stand and walk and fight and live and abide with Christ. It means to “act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8, NIV)
So what about trains and waiting and building tracks? Well, if faith is living in the reality of Christ’s kingdom, then it makes sense that faith comes with a calling. We each have a purpose, both general (to be the hands and feet of Jesus on this side of eternity) and specific (some are called to be doctors who heal sick bodies, some are called to be in law enforcement and protect the innocent, some are called to teach children and equip the next generation with wisdom, and so on). But that calling and that purpose can sometimes seem vague and far off, and a life of faith can sometimes feel like you are sowing the same fields over and over without ever seeing a single sprout, let alone anything worth a harvest. Working on Kingdom time in a world running on a different time scheme can be discouraging, to say the least. In those times, do we give in to frustration and impatience, or do we hold fast to the promises of the Almighty? Do we keep the faith – keep believing “that He Who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion” (Philippians 1:6, NIV), and not just believing it but acting on that belief?
Do we pack up, go home, and tell our friends, “Man was never meant to cross those mountains, anyway”…or do we keep building train tracks, because we know one day the train will come?
The Conductor promised that trains will come, and He is faithful to every promise He makes. So keep building, friends.
Keep the faith, and keep building.