Encouragement From The Word

Defining Moments

Everyone’s life has defining moments.  They can take different forms.  For example, I remember where I was and what I was doing exactly 8 years ago at the moment I’m typing this:  I was sitting in a service centre waiting room having the brakes on my van repaired.

Why would I remember something as relatively insignificant as vehicle repairs, 8 years ago this moment?  Well, look at the calendar:  today is September 11th.  Aside from the fact that it’s the day before my wedding anniversary (another defining moment!), it was 8 years ago this morning that the face of terrorism in the western world took a new twist.  I sat in that waiting room, watching a small television on a news channel that followed, moment by moment, the destruction of the World Trade Center in New York.

Life has not been the same since that time; you’ve noticed this especially if you’ve travelled by air, but it’s noticeable in so many other ways, too.  Defining moments change our lives.  The magnitude of the defining moment can change much more.

Many followers of Christ are not able to define a “moment” when they made the most important decision of their lives.  I count myself among them.  I can say at what point I became convinced of the claims of Christ, and decided to follow him – but I am unable to state at what point God’s grace opened that door.  If I’m to believe the Scriptures, I can’t define that moment because it happened a long time before I was around:  “For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the likeness of his Son” (Romans 8.29a, NIV); “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart” (Jeremiah 1.5a, NIV).  In other words, God chose me long before I chose him.  It was his grace alone that enabled me to choose him!

However, there are many followers of Christ who can define a “moment” when they decided to follow Jesus.  They know the exact hour at which they made a personal commitment to believe that Jesus died and rose again for them.

Each of these approaches to faith is good.  What matters is what follows.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if I can remember (or not) what I was doing on 9/11.  What matters is that airport security has been improved, and there is a greater vigilance when it comes to safety in the world. 

It’s not such a big deal whether or not I can remember exactly when I became a Christ-follower.  What matters is whether or not my lifestyle, my belief system, and my inner life reflect the reality that I made that decision.

If you’ve made a decision, at some point in your life, to follow Jesus, is that reflected in who you are today?  Ultimately, a defining moment is defined by what it leaves in its wake.

Encouragement From The Word

Faith – at Morant’s Curve

While away on our 10,000 km adventure in August, my wife and I made a pilgrimage that is not to be missed when in western Canada:  we stopped at Morant’s Curve.  To be more accurate, we stopped there twice:  once on the way to the Okanagan, and once on the way back. 

“What’s significant about Morant’s Curve?” you might ask.  Good question!  Any Canadian railfan worth his salt knows about Morant’s Curve; keeners have visited it at least once; and the real ‘foamers’ know that it is at mile post 113 on the Laggan Subdivision of the Canadian Pacific Railway.  (To The Rest Of Us, that’s just a few kilometres east of Lake Louise, Alberta,IMG_0511 visible from Highway 1A.)  It’s simply a curved section of the railway that follows the Bow River and is set at the foot of the mountains.  It’s a beautiful place to take pictures of trains.  It got its name from Nicholas Morant, who was the official photographer for the CPR for a large portion of the 20th century.  He set up many a publicity shot for the railway along that curve.

During this pilgrimage, I waited for an hour each time, and had some great conversations with fellow railfans; I even met one older fellow who knew Nick Morant personally (small world, eh?).  But one thing I did not see was a train.

I expected to see at least one train, especially on the way back, since we had seen a train climbing The Big Hill east of Field, BC, getting ready to enter the famed Spiral Tunnels near the entrance to Yoho National Park and the British Columbia-Alberta border.  We expected to get ahead of that train far enough to get to the Curve and set up for a shot.  But the train obviously was held in Lake Louise for some reason.  So we saw nothing except beautiful scenery and nice people.

Since we didn’t see a train, some folks would wonder, given the hype, if it was all a hoax:  that really, trains don’t go past Morant’s Curve, they bypass it by some route not known to us railfans.  Not true!  Why?  Because people I know have seen trains at Morant’s Curve (and, in fact, I saw three trains the last time I visited there).  There are witnesses that have confirmed the reality of trains at Morant’s Curve.

People likewise wonder if the Christian faith is just a hoax.  Because they have not seen Jesus alive, they assume that the resurrection never took place, and that the foundation for being his followers is bogus.  But there are witnesses that have confirmed the reality of Jesus, risen from the dead.  The whole story of the Gospel of John is the life, death and resurrection of Jesus from the perspective of the apostle John.  The apostle Paul, telling the story of his own journey to faith in Christ, recounted that he actually heard the risen Lord Jesus speak to him:  “And the Lord told me, ‘Get up and go into Damascus, and there you will be told everything you are to do’” (Acts 22.10b, NLT).

We may not see what we are told is possible.  But others have, and they give us hope.  Next time, I will see trains at Morant’s Curve!  One day, I will see Jesus, crucified and risen, face to face.

Guess which one matters more?!