In 1896, a man had a plan to draw thousands of people together. How? With a train wreck. A planned train wreck. He sold tickets for $2 apiece, and over 40,000 people gathered from all over Texas to be a part of the event.
The day of the wreck, he instructed the engineers of each train to start the trains running down the track and jump off right before the collision. (This doesn’t sound too smart to me, but you can’t change history—and he didn’t ask my advice.)
Everyone gathered with eager expectation at the grandstands located a few hundred feet from the tracks. The starting gun was fired, and the trains began chugging from opposite ends of the four-mile track. As each locomotive (which also pulled several train cars) chugged toward the other at forty-five miles-per-hour, the murmurs in the crowd grew louder and louder. Finally, the trains met with a huge CRASH.
And then . . .
Something happened that wasn’t expected. An ear-splitting explosion cracked in the air. The locomotives turned into flying pieces of metal, and the logs that were inside the train cars scattered like shrapnel. Several people were killed and hundreds more injured. What was supposed to be an exciting event turned into a terrible tragedy.
It’s a horrible story, but it brings up an important question: Is there something in your life that’s going to cause an unexpected explosion?
Causing two trains to crash is a pretty cool idea, but it didn’t appear that there was much thinking ahead about any potential problems the crash might create. And therein lies the problem. So often we find ourselves in situations that could have been avoided if we had been discerning enough to think ahead.
Before You Build a Tower
Jesus had some words to say about planning ahead. In Luke 14:28–30, He tells the crowds around Him, “For which of you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down and count the cost, whether he has enough to complete it? Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it begin to mock him, saying, ‘This man began to build and was not able to finish.'”
I doubt any of us will be building a tower anytime soon. In this specific case, Jesus is talking about the cost of being a disciple. However, His words are so appropriate for planning ahead.
Think about where _____ (insert whatever you’re struggling with or thinking about doing) is going to take you.
Have you heard the saying, “Begin with the end in mind”? That’s my challenge to you. Ask yourself, Where will this take me? or Where could I end up if I pursue this relationship, visit this website, or send this text? Is it somewhere you want to end up? When you tell your kids and grandkids the story of your life, do you want this to be a part of that story?
There’s Time to Turn Around
If you’re in the middle of something that you wish you wouldn’t have started, or you find yourself going down a track and realize “Whoooaaa I need to stop!” it’s not too late for you to turn around. But we need Jesus to help us.
In John 15:5, Jesus cut to the chase: “Apart from me you can do nothing.”
We are weak. We can’t do anything in our own strength. If you’re that girl who’s found herself walking down a wrong path, turn toward Jesus. (Psst . . . stay tuned for my next post, which tackles how to turn around and start heading in the right direction!)
I would love to hear from you! Before making a decision, have you ever asked yourself Where is this going to take me? Have you ever gone down the wrong path only to wish you hadn’t? How did you get back on the right path?