God Moves in a Mysterious Way

Saying good-bye to the dying is nearly always a painful thing. But Art Verrips had not found his last visit to his very ill friend at all painful. He had spent a pleasant day; indeed, a blessed day, because the Lord had been with them. They had felt themselves to be one in the Lord Jesus Christ, their Saviour, and talked much about His love which both had experienced in their hearts.

Both the elderly woman and Art knew this would be their last visit together here below. But, knowing they would meet again in heaven, the farewell had not been painful. Just before leaving, Art promised her he would come to her funeral to help carry her remains to the grave.

But his friend recovered a little. Art heard nothing from her for several months. Then, early one summer morning while working in his field, the Lord came with power into Art’s soul and told him that this was the very day in which his friend was to be buried. He dropped his spade and said, "Lord, I have to go to that funeral: I promised her I would help carry her body to the grave."

He rushed home as quickly as possible. He had to hurry because he knew the train travelling that direction would soon leave the local station. While he washed and changed himself, his wife tried to get him to change his mind. "Surely," she said, "surely the Lord does not send messages in this way." Art would not change his mind: faith does not reason and faith does not doubt. He allowed nothing to slow him down: he knew he would have to hurry to catch the train. If he missed the train, he would definitely be too late for her funeral.

He half walked, half ran to the railway station. Alas, he was too late! Just as he came through the station gate, the train pulled away from the platform. Just imagine how old Art felt! He had hurried as much as he could and still, he was too late!

"Lord," he sighed, "I hurried as much as I could but I’m too late. If I take the next train, her funeral will be over and done with before I arrive. What shall I do now?"

By now, Art had reached the platform. To his amazement - and the amazement of everyone else, the train had stopped just a little ways from the station platform! All the signal lights were green. There was no reason for this train to stop.

Art quickly went to the stationmaster. "Sir," he said, "please give me a ticket. I have to go with that train." The stationmaster refused, The train had left. How could he sell a ticket for a train that had already left the station?

The stationmaster walked down the track to talk to the engineer and the conductor aboard the train. Neither of them understood what was happening. The train had come to a sudden stop and all the engineer’s attempts to make it start had failed. The stationmaster, conductor, and engineer - all were equally perplexed!

Art had followed the stationmaster down the track. Now it was his turn to speak. "Gentlemen, why all this commotion? You can do what you want but this train will not move until I’m on it. Give me a ticket: this train won’t go until I get in."

The three men and some of the passengers who were hanging out of the train windows stared at old Art. Such a simple village farmer! How much faith he had! The stationmaster scratched his head. Then he handed Art a ticket.

Next, the conductor opened the door to the passenger coach. No sooner had Art mounted the steps than the train lurched forward and resumed its disrupted journey! All this had moved Art deeply. The Lord’s goodness in making sure that he would catch his train filled his heart. He could not restrain himself: he had to speak about his King. Right there, in the middle of that railway carriage, Art testified about his Lord who had so miraculously helped him that day.

Art arrived on time and had a pleasant day. Sometimes the Lord gives His children joy when one of them is taken home. Those remaining behind were given foretastes of heaven, of being delivered from their body of sin, of being forever with their Lord in glory above.

Remember the title of this story? God moves in a mysterious way His wonders to perform.

This story is not over yet. Several years later, while Rev. Heikoop travelled by train, he told his companion Art’s story. As the two talked about these matters, another passenger on the opposite seat listened intently and then became very moved. Rev. Heikoop asked him whether his agitation had something to do with Art’s story. Then the stranger told the minister and his companion that he had been one of the passengers the day the train had stopped for Art. He told them how Art’s testimony to his fellow passengers had been the means in God’s hand to open the eyes of his soul for his great danger. Art’s words had been instruments in God’s hand. The Lord had used them to convict him, to show him the eternal wrath that would rest upon him. But later, the Lord had led him to Christ and revealed His love to him.

This story shows how the Lord moves heaven and earth in order to save one sinner. First, Art had to promise his friend that he would certainly come to her funeral. Then her family had forgotten to send him a funeral announcement giving the date of the funeral. But the Lord is a jealous God of His honor. Despite all his hurrying, Art had missed the train. Then Art had been given such firm faith that he had been able to persuade the stationmaster to sell him a ticket. Further, Art had been given the liberty to testify about his God to the other passengers in the train. And that simple but heartfelt testimony became the means in God’s hand to save this man.

Not unto us, 0 Lord of heav’n, But unto Thee be glory giv’n; In love and truth Thou dost fulfil The counsels of Thy sovereign will...

Psalter 308:1

Submitted by William Grisnich, principal of Calvin Christian School, Lethbridge, Alberta.