Have you ever seen something so strange that you weren’t sure you were actually seeing right? I often will travel by train to Oregon or Washington because I prefer not to drive those long distances by myself. On one train ride last summer, I witnessed a very strange event.
I don’t know if you’ve ever traveled over night by train, but for someone like my who can barely sleep in my own “princess” bed at home, I don’t usually get much sleep. The overnight to Salem, Oregon was one of those nights. No matter how I tried in my assigned seat, I couldn’t get comfortable. So, I got up and went into the observation car.
It’s noisy in those cars even late at night. They weren’t meant to be sleeping halls, but sometimes people spread out with blankets and try to sleep any way they can. I sat on the end by the door and suddenly a man came up, looked around and decided to sit in the seat next to me. He had a folded cardboard box with him. I thought it was a little strange at first, but then he opened the box up and slid it over his head.
He was obviously of Asian descent and I imagined living in such a place where the population is so dense, one would probably rarely find any solitude, especially on public transportation. I recalled having seen a documentary once which showed tiny little compartments on trains where people could sleep. I thought maybe this traveler was used to that and longed for the silence of a private place.
I stared for a little while, wondering about him, but didn’t let it bother me. Then, along came the conductor. He knocked on the box and the man quickly removed it from his head. The conductor tried to ask him what was going on, but it was apparent the gentleman didn’t speak any English. I felt sorry for him, because the conductor took away his box and told him not to do it again.
What I hadn’t noticed was that the box was one of the train’s folding trash bins. Well, I guess that made all the difference, because the Asian gentleman was tampering with something other than his own property. The whole incident was so odd. I also felt a little sad that the conductor hadn’t tried to be a little more kind. I can see his point, however, because it really just didn’t fit in with the culture of the train system.
The more I thought about it, the more I felt it was a difference in culture that lead to the oddness of it. That poor man was just trying to get a little shut eye in a noisy environment. His creativity stood out to me and I never faulted him for his actions. But what I realized about this is that there is a spiritual element we can observe.
Christians are rapidly becoming the oddballs of society. So many people are adapted to our culture and we are starting to stand out as misfits. I’m sure it will get worse, before it gets better, if it ever does. (Once Jesus is ruling here, it will!) What I felt the Lord revealing to me from this “out of the box” (or should I say, “in the box”) experience is that the more our society falls to immorality and conformity to the norms of hedonism and lack of a moral compass, the more we will be judged as weird.
I’m already there, and I’ve decided that it doesn’t really matter what people think of me. I know my King loves me and approves of me, because of the washing of regeneration of the word and the blood of Jesus that cleanses me. So, if I begin to be stigmatized, I’ve already counted the cost.
My prayer for you all today is that you will hear the Lord calling you out of the world. He is asking you to be willing to give up your reputation and your comfort to stand out for Jesus in this darkening world. I pray that you will count the cost of serving Him and of standing for righteousness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation.
May you find your security, your value and your worth in Him alone and let go of any sense that you need to stand up for yourself. I hope you can get to this place, because it isn’t an easy place to be. But it’s exactly where the Lord would have you to be. Thankfully, most of you will never be asked to be so odd that you’re like that man in a trash box!
2 Corinthians 6:14-18 “Do not be bound together with unbelievers; for what partnership have righteousness and lawlessness, or what fellowship has light with darkness? Or what harmony has Christ with Belial, or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever? Or what agreement has the temple of God with idols? For we are the temple of the living God; just as God said,
“I will dwell in them and walk among them;
And I will be their God, and they shall be My people.
“Therefore, come out from their midst and be separate,” says the Lord.
“And do not touch what is unclean;
And I will welcome you.
“And I will be a father to you,
And you shall be sons and daughters to Me,”
Says the Lord Almighty.”
Always in Jesus,
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