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Kathy M. Dingus





What do you do when faced with danger? Do you freeze in your tracks where you stand, or do you turn to run away?

I suppose to most of us, it would depend on the exact kind of danger we faced. Depending on the circumstances, mostly when faced with danger, I want to 'turn tail and run.'

I'd like to tell you a story that actually happened to me and some of my friends when we were teenagers. My Dad was a very adventurous person and we kids often reaped the benefits of his nature. We learned early in life to swim, canoe, hike, camp, etc.

Sometimes we'd really get really adventurous and combine a few activities like hiking and canoeing into one big weekend blast. On one such occasion we were hiking through the Breaks Interstate Park in Virginia with our local church teenagers.

We were walking along the train tracks through the park, and there were about 15 of us hiking that day. This was a long, hot trek, at least 10 miles or so and we were in generally high spirits, laughing and joking and teasing each other. Dad would bring along his guitar and we'd sing as we walked.

We walked through a long tunnel, somewhat afraid but none of us wanting to show that fear to each other. It was dark and slightly curved just a bit so you couldn't see the light beams on the other side from one end to the other. A few steps inside however, revealed light at the end of the tunnel.

It was nice and cool in there and we all wondered what would happen if a train just happened along while we were all inside. Of course, that didn't happen and we all laughed aloud at our foolish imaginations.

At the end of the tunnel was a bridge . . . to us it seemed like a long bridge . . . and it was. We were all relieved to be out of the tunnel so we merrily started to cross the bridge, eager to be near the end of our hike and we could taste the cold soft drinks waiting for us.

The bridge was very high without guard rails on either side, but oblivious to that fact, we started across.

The train track was of a normal width and there was an extension on either side of the actual track. As long as we stayed in the middle, it wasn't so scary.

It didn't seem nearly as high and we could ignore the fact that the bridge was long and narrow.

Once we reached the middle of the bridge, we all seemed to breathe a sigh of relief . . . we were halfway across!

All at once we heard a sound that made us stop dead in our tracks . . . the shrill sound of a train whistle, warning us of its approach.

We all looked at each other in a sort of panic . . . as if to ask each other what do we do now? As the train swiftly approached our side of the tunnel, we turned to run. As we did, my Dad shouted 'STOP!"

I don't have to tell you how that sounded to us. Did he not see the train coming toward us on that little narrow train bridge? Couldn't he see that there was nowhere else to go but to run?

My Dad taught us at a young age when he said to stop, we stopped. So instinct, and faith and trust made us stop.

He quickly urged us all to divide into two sides and stand on the outside edge of the track as close to the end as possible and turn our backs to the train.

We quickly did as he asked and braced ourselves for what seemed like sure death to us.

The train went rumbling by, and the conductor waved at us as the train passed. We all breathed a huge sigh of relief and quickly returned to the middle of the track.

Dad praised us for obeying him without question, when all of our natural instincts told us to run instead of standing still and holding our ground.

I've often wondered why we stopped when he spoke. I know we were trained to obey him, but the other teens along on this particular outing didn't have that experience. But they too, without question, obeyed, clearly going against what their instinct told them and stayed still.

I trusted my Father to take care of me. It's that simple. Although I wanted to run, he knew if I did I might fall, get caught in between the tracks, or several of us end up with a similar fate. The safest course was to stand and turn our backs to impending danger.

What we didn't know at that time was that my Father and a friend of his were caught on the very same bridge, carrying a canoe from one side of the river to the other! They also had to stand on the side of the bridge as we did, except they had to hold a canoe over the side as well! He knew that we would be all right. He knew we would be safe.

Our heavenly Father wants us to trust in Him the same way we trusted my earthly Father on the train bridge. Even in the face of clear and present danger, have the faith and trust in Him to listen. Then heed his voice! He's telling us to STOP! Probably more than we even realize.

He knows when there is danger ahead. He knows when we are going to get into a troublesome situation. He also knows how to rescue us, as well. We only need to read his words in the Holy Bible and live by His example . . . and listen to Him..

We need to turn our backs on evil, just as I turned my back to that train years ago. It took courage and it took faith and my Father's love to do so.

Do we have the courage and the faith to turn our backs on Satan and his influence on our lives? Can we stand firm in the face of present danger and shout "STOP!"

Debby Bailey wrote a short article a couple of months ago about a young toddler who broke away from his mother and ran into the path of an oncoming car, with his mother pleading with him to STOP!

She reminded me of how God does the same in our lives, and how much he must grieve as that young mother did, when the warnings are ignored.

Can we show our love for Him by studying and praying and contemplating HIS WORDS for us? He wants us to listen.

He's telling us that danger is ahead . . . and for us to STOP! and turn from the evil one.

I like to picture myself sitting at Christ's feet, enraptured, much the way I sat at my Father's feet as a little girl and listened intently to his stories.

I'm older now and no longer a little girl, but I am still God's little girl and He loves me more than my physical Father did.

Can I look up at Him with the same adoration and love that I gave my physical Father? Can I listen to his stories (biblical examples of Christian living) with the same rapt attention? Con you?

If you can . . . God will tell you to stand one day . . . and you know what? You'll stand . . . and we'll hear Him say. 'Well done!"

I'm waiting for that day!