Trains. My husband travels on these often. When work takes him away from his cosy office down the garden he travels by train and all the delights they have to offer; flip down trays, dodgy wifi, blocked toilets and a hefty ticket price.Now I know he doesn’t travel away by choice and he often does have to work but sometimes he is stuck, unable to work, his connection delayed. I am only envious of the potential space this can offer ( though I am aware the reality of this frustrating situation is much different!), simply to just think, unwind, stare blindly out the window, time alone with no toddler tugging at my top. This is time I rarely have in my working day where my commute is from upstairs to downstairs, my workplace is in my home with my children, constantly thinking of them and their needs, often at the expense of my own. However in my day I have a different kind of space though never really alone. I have the opportunity to be creative and inventive – no one else giving me a list of targets or deadlines to fulfill. My job is to give them a truly exciting and imaginative introduction to the world and as part of this I want to introduce them to my friend Jesus, and so together they are getting to know him and I am, through their eyes discovering the world for a second time. For my husband and those of you 9-5 ers ( or 7-7ers!) It is not so easy to find Jesus in your workplaces, where you have a schedule, targets and demands to meet. But maybe this time on the train could be your opportunity to encounter Him during your day even for a fleeting second. Surely one second in his presence is worth a 1000 at the desk?
So here are 5 alternative things to do on a train. A list for my man and also one that may help inspire you commuters out there, you guys and gals treking up and down the country, to sit next to Jesus on your next journey.
To help focus your prayers why not pray around the topic of child poverty.
On average throughout England 1 in 5 children are below the poverty line. In some inner city areas this rises to over half. Read this document by the charity; End Child Poverty, for a breakdown of statistics across all local authorities in the country. Find where you’re traveling through and pray for those children.
If you travel often keep a train diary. Today write down the date, the journey you’re on and 10 things you have to be thankful for today.
The world whizzing by, sit back, relax. The train often goes where roads can’t, through towns and countryside, past back gardens and parks. You will get a snapshot of people going about their daily lives. Pause for a second to think on this passage, let it soak into your spirit. Meditate on it and listen for any whispers of truth.
1-3 Be a good citizen. All governments are under God. Insofar as there is peace and order, it’s God’s order. So live responsibly as a citizen. If you’re irresponsible to the state, then you’re irresponsible with God, and God will hold you responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if you’re trying to get by with something. Decent citizens should have nothing to fear.
3-5 Do you want to be on good terms with the government? Be a responsible citizen and you’ll get on just fine, the government working to your advantage. But if you’re breaking the rules right and left, watch out. The police aren’t there just to be admired in their uniforms. God also has an interest in keeping order, and he uses them to do it. That’s why you must live responsibly—not just to avoid punishment but also because it’s the right way to live.
6-7 That’s also why you pay taxes—so that an orderly way of life can be maintained. Fulfill your obligations as a citizen. Pay your taxes, pay your bills, respect your leaders.
8-10 Don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. When you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. The law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: Love other people as well as you do yourself. You can’t go wrong when you love others. When you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love.
11-14 But make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God. The night is about over, dawn is about to break. Be up and awake to what God is doing! God is putting the finishing touches on the salvation work he began when we first believed. We can’t afford to waste a minute, must not squander these precious daylight hours in frivolity and indulgence, in sleeping around and dissipation, in bickering and grabbing everything in sight. Get out of bed and get dressed! Don’t loiter and linger, waiting until the very last minute. Dress yourselves in Christ, and be up and about!
There are always people we keep meaning to catch up with, old friends, family. If you’ve got some time on your hands ( and signal!) , it’s the ideal time to reach out to that person you’ve been meaning to contact for ages but just haven’t managed to speak to. Prayerfully ask God to bring a person to the front of your mind and if there is anything that they need to hear right now, or anything he would like you to share. Transform your frustrating delayed journey into a moment of encounter for you and encouragement for them.
If you have your phone or laptop try and listen to this little bit of treasure I have found on good ol’ YouTube. Look out the window and listen.