Don’t Get on the Wrong Train!

If you’re like me, perhaps the idea of flying interests you to a certain extent, but you’re probably more comfortable with your feet on solid ground. The truth is, we would all like to avoid the possibility, however remote, of suffering some misfortune in the air.

Thanks be to God, practically all the flights that I’ve been on during my life have occurred without any major incidents. In fact, the only problems that I’ve experienced have not been those in the air but on the ground, before boarding the plane. Delays and canceled flights, for example, are two adversaries that have caused me some trouble.

Surely some of us can identify with those who have not been able to go through with their plans due to problems outside of their control. Unfortunately, however, sometimes the traveler himself is to blame for not being able to reach his destination due to his own negligence.

This was exactly what happened to me several years ago. I decided to visit New York City just hours before my flight was supposed to leave from John F. Kennedy International Airport. A friend, with whom I was to meet in the city, convinced me that there was enough time to do some sightseeing and promised to accompany me to the train that would take me to the airport. After walking around the “Big Apple” for a while, he took me to the train, we said goodbye, and I got on without thinking twice.

It would have been a cinch to check the map of the city that was on the wall of the train to make sure that I actually was traveling to the airport. Even if there hadn’t been a map, the most logical thing would have been to ask a capable person to tell me how to get to my destination. I had all the necessary information at my disposal; nevertheless, I remained glued to my seat, passively contemplating what was happening around me.

Despite this friend’s good intentions to point out what he thought was the right way, before I knew it, I was in Upper Manhattan, far from the airport! I had traveled all that time in the opposite direction. I trusted my friend wholeheartedly, but now I would have to accept the consequences. That night, I missed the plane that was to take me to Madrid and I would have to spend another day in New York.

My plans did not turn out as I expected because of my own negligence. The reader may ask, “Isn’t the one who gave the wrong information to blame?” The truth is that we were both guilty: he, for pointing out a way that did not reach the promised destination and me, for having taken that path without investigating for myself whether it would lead me to what I expected.

This simple anecdote makes me reflect on how the vast majority of religious people in the world accept —without thinking twice— the beliefs they have received from their parents or others (Colossians 2:8; 1 Peter 1:18 ). They have all the necessary information at their disposal to keep from “getting on the wrong train” (John 14:6; 8:31-32; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), but, instead of questioning the teachings of others, they believe everything “hook, line, and sinker.” They have a Bible at home, but fail to remove it from its unalterable place on the bookshelf or bedside table. And there it sits, the divine “map,” patrimony of every human traveler, patiently waiting for some soul to leaf through its dusty pages and follow its infallible directions to the sole destiny of the faithful Christian.

Taking the wrong train certainly has its temporary inconveniences, but taking the wrong path to God can have a negative impact on our eternal destiny (Matthew 7:13-14). Why not read the Bible for yourself to see whether or not you are on “the right track?” Seek God with all your being… and He will take you to the promised destination.

–Jerry Falk