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Ah, yes…the soul-stirring sound of a train whistle, My train whistle. It was comin’ in, comin’ in. I was loaded with my luggage for my trip to Virginia to help my daughter by watching her little children for a few days while she had her baby. I had been hearing train calls for weeks now, with their promise that I would soon be on one. Tuesday was my day, and I hugged my husband goodbye and boarded.

As I chose a great window seat where I could see the passing scenery best, I settled in with my travel coffee cup to enjoy my long, but hopefully smooth and uneventful trip through the towns and cities on the way to Penn Station, New York. Leg one of the journey. My expectation was a time to write, on time arrivals and a perfect connection. That was my plan.

I did not want a growth plan in trusting God some more.

Chugging on the way through the Vermont section, the train stopped. Not at a station. It was in the middle of nowhere. For a while we just set. Then two conductors trotted by with full outdoor weather on! Okay, anxiety moment #1. “Just relax and trust Me,” I heard. Long story short, the outside temperature in Vermont was -15, so the track switches were frozen and had to be manually moved. Three different times. Anxiety #2 was the time this all took and how I needed to catch a train at Penn Station. Take a deep breath, Debbi.

Finally at Penn Station, with some time before the next departure, I checked the schedule board. My train was #97, and it was ON TIME. So far. Slowly the trains move up the board as they become ready to board. When my #97 reached the third position, an alarming thing happened. Suddenly the message read DELAYED. In huge capital letters. This did not bode well. With my very pregnant daughter and her young family planning to meet me at the station in Virginia close to 8 pm, being late would be a real snag. What do I do, God?

The speaker above announced the boarding of #85, and I caught the city I was headed to listed on its trip. What? That train was leaving now to the city I needed. I saw the window the Lord was pointing at. Could this happen in such a short time? I asked the boarding man at the top of the stairs if I could get on this train. He heard my case, and told me to go to the line over there. Then I was sent to a machine where you could change your ticket, possibly, but it came out wrong. Then to another official who said it would cost a lot more, and to go to another line. Whew. Meanwhile, the line boarding is thinning, and so was my window of opportunity. Help, Lord. The last chance man changed the ticket and told me to run because the train was leaving in less than two minutes. I ran. I prayed and I thumped down the empty stairway through the closed door. And out to the track, where the long train sat still, no one around but the conductor standing near the far door, about to climb aboard. I frantically waved my ticket and she shouted, loudly, “Hey Lady, get on the train !!!” In capital letters.

I arrived at my Virginia destination early. What an amazing God. And as my daughter picked me up, I noticed that the train I was originally coming on was still going to be very late. Wow. Trust tests are hard, but the exhilaration afterward is awesome.

Stayed tuned for Excursion II