In March of 1985, I was traveling by train from Moab, Utah to Albany, Oregon, for a speaking engagement. Traveling by train gave me two days to study and collect my thoughts, it also gave me a chance to catch up on some reading. One of the stops enroute to Oregon was Truckee. I had never been to Truckee, honestly, I did not know it existed. But when I looked out of the window of the train as it stopped at the depot, it was as if an arrow was shot into my heart, freezing forever that moment in time. I even remember the book that I was reading, it was A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Van Auken.
Little did I know that the arrow was shot into my heart by God. And over the next six years, I would often wince from the exquisite pain left by the arrow. Little did I know that my ten-minute stop in Truckee was the beginning of a journey that would ultimately result in another train trip, this one bound for Truckee.
I have been sorting through some books this past week and I came across the book that I was reading on the train thirty-seven years ago this month. As I once again held it in my hand, a thousand memories came rolling in like a flood. I thought of the six-year interim between my train trips to Truckee, a time that God was using to prepare me for His next call on my life.
Thirty-one years ago this week, I boarded that same train with Truckee as my destination, this time I was not alone, my wife Sandy, and our four children accompanied me on this trip. That six years of preparation had culminated in an invitation from Sierra Bible Church to come and candidate for their open position for a senior pastor. We spent several days touring the area, visiting the schools, and talking with the leaders of the church. Then, on Sunday, March 17, I presented a sermon to the assembled congregation. Later that afternoon with a heavy snow falling, we boarded the train for Utah, but not before Gerry Medvecki asked to please come and be their pastor.
Within a week a call was extended, and I became the senior pastor of Sierra Bible Church on June 1, 1991. What a journey it was to get here, what a journey it has been over the past thirty-one years. God is good.
Though we are admonished by scripture not to live in the past, I believe that there are times that a glimpse into the past reminds us of wondrous ways that God has faithfully worked His will into our lives. In fact, in many instances, it is only in the looking back that we become acutely aware that He was there all along guiding our steps. And when I see the places that He has provided and directed me in the past, my faith increases in regard to His provision for the future. All of this brings to mind the words of Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”