If you were at Wildwood Church with me on Sunday, you will have heard a sister share the following: (I am paraphrasing as well as I remember.)
“I was on a train in the Peak District recently when the Lord spoke to me strongly. It was one of those little tourist trains. It wasn’t an express. It only had a couple of carriages. It went slowly through the countryside and you sat and watched the scenery while you had a cream tea.
We were all on the platform and didn’t know when the train would be coming in, but the station master knew everything and told us what to do and when to do it. He reminded me of the Fat Controller in the Thomas the Tank Engine stories. I felt the Lord say to me: “I am in control. I know the timetable. This is not an express, you haven’t got to hurry. All you need to do is to sit there, look out of the window, and count the sheep.“
Doreen emphasised how the Lord was reminding her, and us, that He is in control. He knows the timetable. He knows our going out and our coming in. We are safe in him and we can relax and be at peace. This was a true “now” word, as the thrust of the sermon that was to follow (and which she obviously hadn’t heard) was, essentially, “be still and know that I am God.” And also I think there are a couple of other details which have prophetic significance, alongside the timely exhortation to rest in Him, which I would like to bring out now.
The first is this. The train was going through the peak district. The peaks are a reminder of all the excesses that we see in the world at the moment: not just the peaks of chaos and anxiety that fill the news every day, but the peaks of excess that the ruler of this world is consistently seeking to tempt us with. God’s train passes among all of these, untouched by them. In Him we too remain untouched. The only real peak of human experience is our relationship with God: we do not need to climb out of the train to scale any of the tempting peaks outside, or to run away from the threatening ones, however close any of them seem to appear. If we can be still and know that He is God, we will see them disappear behind us.
Secondly, there were the sheep. Doreen specifically said that we need to “sit there, look out of the window, and count the sheep.” As I was pondering this story I felt the Lord turning it around and saying “the sheep count!“ We are the sheep of His pasture. He is the Good Shepherd. Nothing counts more, collectively and individually, than the sheep that Jesus gave His life to bring into the Fathers sheepfold.
If we rush from one destination to another, all we will see is the peaks. But if we sit still on the Lord’s train, in Heavenly places with Him, in the seat that He has bought for us, following the timetable that He controls, we will be aware of the sheep of His pasture and they will become more important to us than anything else on our journey. And sometimes He will even bring us a cream tea.