Mainline or Sidetrack?

“Watch for the new thing . . .”


“Watch for the new thing I am going to do.  It is happening already—you can see it now! (Isaiah 43:19)
On a trip not too long ago we passed these aging magnificent monsters a couple of times as we drove on the interstate before I could finally figure out how to get close to them.  Being the railroad “nut” that I am (it’s been in my blood since I was a young boy) I was convinced I had to find these beauties.  I won’t tell you just how many pictures I took of the two deteriorating steam engines, but suffice it to say I’m glad I use a digital camera instead of film.  These were once the top of the line engines that demanded respect for their ability to haul such heavy loads.  Folks stopped along their way to watch the symphony of steam these two behemoths created as they made their way along the mainline tracks through crowded cities and rural settings.  Yet, eventually the steam engines fell from their places of glory to become mere rusted hulks on a side track with weeds and spiderwebs clogging their parts.  I can marvel at their engineering and imagine their grace as they once rocketed down the tracks, but I must at the same time acknowledge their obsolescence.


Today is our granddaughter’s first birthday.  She and her parents live several hours away, but we’ve been together the last few days.  Once more I’ve had the sacred privilege of watching as God is doing something new again.  I’ve watched her explore, experiment, and wonder as she has interacted with us and this great big wonderful world God has given us.  You can almost watch her grow right before your eyes.  Interacting with her is also a challenge.  It requires that we stay on our toes and experiment as we try to wonder what she’s wondering and help supply her needs.  Just when you think you’ve got her figured out, she decides to change the rules of the game and it’s time to try something new.

I think all of this reminds me that not only is God keeping the promise to always be doing something new in and for us, but God is also challenging us to live in the same spirit – looking for and doing new things to grow in God’s love and share God’s love.  That way, we never become obsolete in our relating and loving even if our old ways were truly wonderful.  I know folks who allow God’s Spirit to keep their spirits refreshed and looking for God’s new ways of living and loving.  I’ve also met folks who for various reasons, be it stubbornness, fear, etc., have become stuck on the sidetrack of life, rusting away in painful obsolescence.  I’ve also seen both kinds of churches  – some racing along the mainline and some stuck on the sidetrack.  I pray that God’s Spirit will keep my spirit looking for the new ways God is calling me to live, love, and serve.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,
Pastor, Cross Lanes United Methodist Church
Cross Lanes, West Virginia

Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and
Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on May 29, 2013.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: