Yesterday the network rail line connecting rural Cornwall to the rest of England was re-opened. The great Victorian engineer Isambard Kingdom Brunel’s railtrack had suffered devastating damage in the winter storms and lashing waves. Sagging tracks now hung precariously above a cavernous hole where the sea embankment had collapsed. Teams have worked twenty four hours a day for weeks in foul weather conditions to have this line repaired in time for the Easter holidaymakers. So when I read the following quote this morning by my hero Watchman Nee, the rescued railway story began to speak powerfully to me.
“Our prayers lay the track down on which God’s power can come.
Like a mighty locomotive, His power is irresistable,
but it cannot reach us without rails.”
This speaks of the vulnerability of a prayer-less life and as a woman of faith I certainly take that warning literally. However there is a wider implication for us all about a poorly maintained inner life. One particular fateful day a catastrophe may suddenly reveal what has been a slow and imperceptible eroding of the inner fabric of character. Lives and assets are threatened and what may have seemed to be utterly remarkable now is called into question. One day you may be a plentiful supply or generous example to family, dependents, friends, clients and populations. The next day, all of this prosperity has been violently disrupted overnight.
It may be possible in the cartoon world to lay a track as quickly as the train that is advancing upon it but is simply untrue in reality! If we desire to be reliable, powerful influencers and providers of hope, strength and inspiration to those who come after us, we have to be ready and stay ready and stable in adversity. Adversity is not the time to lay a foundation! Midnight is not the time to go shopping!
Our recent six week transport disruption cost the Cornish economy two million pounds a day! What personal momentum are you risking by overlooking the importance of everyday, mundane responsibilities of life? I include non-emergency prayer, everyday relationship nurture and all those things that are on a par with revision and practice and habit?
This is what enables the power to live coming toward us like a mighty locomotive!