The Railroad of Life

Last night I became fascinated and intrigued with a television series called “Railroad Alaska”.  I spent several hours watching how the railroad masters take care of the railroad line between Wasilla and Anchorage.  It is their job to go ahead of the trains every day and look for any obstruction such as a broken track, avalanches, or even deadly icicles overhanging or blocking the railroad track.  These track crews are critical to keeping the train running because the railroad is the life blood of Alaska.

This particular railway runs through the more remote parts of Alaska where there are people who have chosen to life off the grid and away from society.  Their only way to get supplies, fuel, or any kind of medical help is to either walk or ride their snowmobiles several miles to flag down the train that goes by on certain days and only at certain times.  The train is their provider and their protector.

As I watched the special jobs that the railroad masters do and how very seriously and carefully they do their work, I couldn’t help but be reminded of how God goes ahead of us preparing our way as we follow Him.

Even though the railroad master’s job is to go ahead of the train to ensure it’s safety, the train engineer must always be on high alert during the course of the journey watching for moose on or near the tracks, sudden avalanches, people on snowmobiles and vehicles on or too near the tracks.

During the bitter winter months the Alaskan Railroad trains must go through long tunnels where water has seeped through the roof and sides creating perilous icicles weighing up to a ton that can easily cut through the metal of the engine like butter. This forces the engineer to slow down in each tunnel so the train can safely come out the other side.

There are times in our lives when we go through tunnels of unexpected circumstances or dangers that we have no control of.  We are forced to slow down as we remember that God has gone ahead of us to prepare the way and is also sitting in our engine riding along with us through the tunnel.

On the train tracks are sensors that will sound an alert inside the train letting the engineer know that the wheels of the train are too hot.  The engineer will then stop the train, find the hot wheel and throw snow on it to cool it down before proceeding.

On the train tracks of our lives God has given us the Holy Spirit to sound an alarm in our spirit whenever something is wrong in our lives or danger is ahead.  We have the choice to either acknowledge that warning, stop, check ourselves and do something about it or just barrel on ahead and ignore the warning.

As a widow, I need to be listening for any alerts going off in my spirit warning me that there is trouble.  This is one of the ways, I believe, that God acts as a widow’s husband.  He loves us enough to alert us when something is not right.

When I was a teenager, I heard an old 82 year old evangelist sing a song that made such an impression on me that I have never forgotten it.  The title of that song is “Life’s Railway to Heaven”.

Life is like a mountain railway.

With an engineer that’s brave;

We must make the run successful

From the cradle to the grave;

Watch the curves, the fills, the tunnels’

Never falter, never fail;

Keep your hands upon the throttle,

And your eyes upon the rail.


Blessed Savior, thou wilt guide us,

Till we reach that blissful shore,

Where the angels wait to join us

In Thy praise forevermore.

You will roll up grades of trial;

You will cross the bridge of strife;

See that Christ is your conductor

On this lightning train of life;

Always mindful of obstruction,

Do your duty, never fail;

Keep your eyes upon the throttle

And your eyes upon the rail.

You will often find obstructions,

Look for storms and wind and rain;

On a fill, or curve, or trestle

They will almost ditch your train;

Put your trust alone in Jesus,

Never falter, never fail;

Keep your hands upon the throttle,

And your eyes upon the rail.

As you roll across the trestle

Spanning Jordan’s swelling tide,

You behold the Union Depot

Into which your train will glide;

There you’ll meet the Sup’rintendent,

God the Father, God the Son,

With the hearty, joyous plaudit

“Weary Pilgrim, welcome home!”

Where are you on the railway of life?  Are you facing any unexpected circumstances or surprise obstructions?  Keep your hand upon the throttle and your eyes upon the rail.  God has gone ahead of you.  God is right there with you….even when you can’t feel His presence.

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