|"Norfolk Southern Heading East Through Belvoir, VA"|
(C) Allen Pearson Photography
Are You on the Right Track?
A hobby that I recently got back into is railfanning. It's pretty simple, and, for me, and many others, quite a bit of fun. What is railfanning? Basically, it's sitting by the railroad tracks, legally, waiting for a train to go by. Chances are if you cross railroad tracks driving around town and happen to see people sitting by the tracks, that's what they are doing.
I have found myself enjoying railfanning quite a bit so I take a day or a few hours here and there to go. I find it a great escape from the noise and chaos of the city- besides the noises of the train going by that is!
I have had an interest in trains, railroads, and railfanning since I was born- I think. Mostly because my grandparents lived in West Virginia next to a busy Chesapeake and Ohio Railway railroad tracks. Also, I grew up in a railroad town in a time when the trains went roaring through town all the time. Unfortunately, I didn't live close enough to watch all the trains go by but there were times I got to see a few go by.
Back in the day, I would sit by the tracks waiting for a train to come. At my grandmother's house, the day was filled with checking the train signals up the street for a "green light." When the light was green, I was on alert for every noise that sounded like a train approaching. OF course, when it was a train, I was out on the front porch waiting for the train.
These days, a scanner radio, the internet, and computer software allow me to pretty much know when a train is coming or at least within a few hours. I can fairly easily grab my camera and stuff and go out to the tracks.
As I watch the trains go by, sometimes one right after another on a single track and even in opposite directions, I began thinking about how precise and exact the trains operate. The Locomotive Engineer doesn't just get into the cab of the locomotive, turn it on, and go like we do in our cars. He has to know all about his train, the load he's carrying, the tonnage, where he is going, aware of any trouble areas like steep inclines, and be able to follow the Dispatcher's directions. The Dispatcher knows what's coming down the railroad and keeps trains from meeting by way of accident. The entire railroad industry is an exact science of knowing everything you can about the train to get it from point "A" to point "B" safely.
I got to thinking about the Christian life and how trusting God gets me through the rough times in life. When we are on a "track" that can lead to other problems God helps us through these. If we read the Bible, it's a like the "dispatcher" for the Locomotive Engineer giving us guidance from God's Word for life. An important difference is although the dispatcher cares that the train crew is successful in completing its trip, he doesn't "love" the crew unconditionally. God does! God loves us no matter what we have done, where we have been, and what "track" we are on in this life. All we have to do is believe in Jesus, ask for forgiveness of our sins, and follow Him.
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|"A Freight Train Through the Woods"|
(C) Allen Pearson Photography