In the movie Unstoppable, loosely based on real life events, an unmanned train-- actually, a missile the size of the Chrysler building--barrels down the tracks toward a highly populated area. On Thanksgiving Day 2010, my extended family and I watched this newly released film.
Little did I know that in less than a month, we would experience the devastation of our own ‘runaway train.’
Unlike the film, we did not have a warning. If we had, we would have done all we could to stop the devastation. That is the normal response to a warning. Fix the problem.
That is why, when I read James 5:1 today, I was surprised, “Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.” KJV
Why would someone advise rich men, apparently successful and good problem-solvers, to loudly express their grief? Why not mobilizing resources and do something to avoid the coming disaster? Perhaps because in this case it was useless. This ‘runaway train’ was unstoppable.
No matter how careful we are or how hard we try, we will all have ‘runaway trains’ that barrel toward us, bringing destruction, even death. If we can’t stop the coming disasters, how do we prepare?
The passage in James 5 gives us a clue of what not to do—don’t trust in that which is temporary such as health or possessions, because they can be taken away. As much as is possible, trust in the Living God who will never leave us or change.
Trusting in God doesn’t stop the unstoppable, but God gives us a measure of security and peace.
In the film, Unstoppable, the disaster was averted (at the last minute, of course). Our family’s ‘runaway train’—my son’s suicide death—was not. Yet, even in great destruction and pain, God continues to give grace and bring blessing.
Reality will hit.
There's no avoiding it.
You can't work your way out of it insulate against it or finagle your way around it. Like a run-away train it is coming. It can't be re-routed or stopped.
Get ready. Prepare emotionally. Your body will betray you-- cancer, broken bones, or dementia. Your possessions will disappoint-- rust, cracks, scratches, theft.
These temporal things were never intended to be the focus of our trust. And that's good. Their deficits highlight the One-- and only One-- worthy of our trust. One who will not betray or disappoint-- the Lord Jesus Christ.
Our Faithful, Eternal Father You alone are the One-- the One we can place our trust in and never be lost or undone. We'll never be lost or undone.
He [The righteous] is not afraid of bad news; his heart is firm, trusting in the LORD. Psalm 112:7 ESV