The Rail Strike

Thursday, February 9, 2017
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Listen while you read: "The King Of Love My Shepherd Is"1 (Lyrics)

Ezekiel 34:12a – As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. (NIV 2011)

Before Christmas, my husband and I were in England when the big news was the rail strike. England enjoys a complex network of both surface and underground trains. They interconnect like a giant spider web: a maze of tunnels, escalators, stations, and shops. Each line is allotted a different colour. The infrastructure is old, and passengers have increased by seven million over the past decade. Renovations and new building are ongoing. We were impressed with the driverless airport shuttle and the space-age toilets aboard the Liverpool train. We were amused to note that on the escalators, passengers stay politely to the right — though they drive on the left! This keeps foot traffic moving smoothly by allowing others to pass on the left.

Used to a slower pace of life in a small town, we were bewildered by the crowds, unfamiliar signs, and the variety of accents of those making announcements. On our last morning, after a prayer for protection and blessing, and armed with a map, we navigated our way from my brother's home north of London to Gatwick airport in the south. At that early hour, the train was empty, but as we approached the inner city, it rapidly filled with commuters.

When we changed trains, we were suddenly faced with a steep staircase and a dilemma. We both pulled a heavy suitcase and carried a backpack. I couldn't carry my case up the steps, and my husband couldn't carry them both without toppling back. If he took just his own, he would have to leave it untended at the top while he returned for mine. We hesitated while the crowds milled around us.

Suddenly, a young man reached between us and scooped up my case with no effort. He galloped up the steps as we stumbled behind trying to keep pace. Depositing my case cheerfully at the top, he melted into the crowd.

Genesis 24:40a – The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success. (NIV 2011)

Swept along, we emerged from the bowels of the earth into King's Cross station. If we were taken aback by the teeming crowds below, it was sheer bedlam above. The system is incredibly efficient if it keeps moving. But during a union strike, the platforms quickly become engorged. As one train after another was cancelled, and while disembodied voices apologized for the inconvenience, more passengers crammed onto the platform. I anxiously watched as many stepped across the yellow safety line, in danger of being pushed onto the rails.

Proverbs 4:12 – When you walk, your steps will not be hampered; when you run, you will not stumble. (NIV 2011)

Finally headed to the airport, the "express" stopped and started for no reason we could fathom. Passengers acknowledged that they could miss their plane. Four hours after we had left my brother's home for an hour's journey, we hurried through the gate, just as our plane was boarding!

We still faced a 7-hour plane ride, and, due to a snowstorm on arrival in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, another seven hours on the highway. Yet we felt God's hand of protection on us throughout our entire journey. God promises to be always with us. If you're heading somewhere today, faced with an ordeal of a journey, I encourage you to commit your plans to God and place yourself in His capable hands.

Prayer: Father God, we live in a fast-paced, often dangerous world. But You are the Good Shepherd Who takes care of Your sheep, no matter where we are. We put ourselves in Your hands and claim Your promises. Thank You for always being with us. Amen.

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About the author:

JJ Ollerenshaw <>
Belleville, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Good reminder JJ. God bless.

    Thank you for sharing your trials of travel and the reminder and encouragement that He is always with us, even going ahead of us! Praise God!

    Indeed, God is the God who is able JJ. A good story with a great application. But l’m also sure glad that l am a homebody as much as possible!

    Wow, JJ, what a journey! God’s perspective of all the journeys in this world would boggle our finite minds, and to think, He’s got each journey and each one of us cradled in His strong, capable arms. Blows my mind, it does. Blessings.

    Thank you for taking us on that journey with you. I have been reading a book on prayer by Richard Foster and he was talking about the prayer of rest where we can think of ourselves in the cupped hand of God. What a safe place to rest!

    “The Lord, before whom I have walked faithfully, will send his angel with you and make your journey a success.” — now that’s Good News indeed!
    Thank you for a very evocative devotional!

    Dear JJ Ollerenshaw,
    Thank you for telling of the many times our Lord showed his way of working things together for good during your trip — as he promises to do.
    Keep writing.

    I read your devotional this evening and wanted to just say thanks for sharing with us the providence of Almighty God in our daily lives. I really like the part of the young fellow just picking up the suit case and carrying it up the escalator without being asked.
    May God bless you as you continue to bless others with your PresbyCan Daily.

    Thank you for your devotionals.
    Your comments about railway stairs certainly resonated with me!
    My husband and I emigrated from Northern Ireland when we got married … not to escape ‘the troubles’, but because he had been offered a job in Toronto.
    Sometimes I went over for a family visit without him, and I too found those stairs difficult!
    But, I love London! There is so much history, and so many places I have read about over the years, that I would never be bored with it.
    So, an interesting devotional on many levels. Again, thank you.

    That was indeed quite a trip. I too have been on the tube in London and was reliving the trip with you as I read. What a wonderful angel who swooped in to help and then disappeared! God works in amazing ways His wonders to perform. Thank you for the mindful scriptures included.

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