Charlie loves trains. That is actually an understatement, if trains could be a love language, that would be Charlie’s. Thomas the tank engine is his favorite.
Knowing this, Mike thought it would be a great idea to get Charlie tickets to a Thomas event for his 3rd birthday. We wanted this to be a special day just for him, and we kept this a secret from him for about 4 months, until last weekend when it was time to give him his surprise. We made the whole day special, beginning with getting munchkins from Dunkin Donuts (and of course coffee for mom and dad). Every few minutes he kept asking us where we were going, and we kept telling him that he would love it! I am sure with the long car ride (1 hour and 15 minutes to be exact), he may have thought to himself that the surprise couldn’t be that good if he had to wait that long, but if he was having those thoughts they quickly began to disappear the second we parked the car. The surprise was a ride on a life size Thomas the train, along with carnival rides, and other things that were train and Thomas related, but we had to take a school bus to take us to where the event was. Charlie sees the school bus, and is overly excited that he gets to ride the bus. I think he thought that was his big surprise, however the joy on his face when he saw the life size Thomas is probably something I will never forget.
There were a couple of times during the day that he got scared, like when the train blew its whistle (in his defense it was really loud!), or when he went on the elephant ride and cried to get off, but most of the day he was on cloud 9 and his big adventure was well worth the wait! I know Charlie will be talking about his day with Thomas for the days and weeks to come.
“he took every step in anticipation of what was before him.”
Following Jesus can be a lot like this. He tells us to follow Him, but we don’t really know where we are following him to. He says to be strong and courageous, but taking His lead can be scary. He says that He is the way, but the way doesn’t seem that great. He has a plan, but the wait is so long.
He says that faith the size of a mustard seed can move mountains, but the little pebble in your way isn’t moving.
Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.
We knew that Charlie was going to love his surprise because we know our son. We know his likes, and we know his dislikes. We knew every step of the way that Charlie was going to LOVE his surprise, and he took every step in anticipation of what was before him.
Have you ever felt like you were following His lead, but it seems like you are getting nowhere? There are times that I feel like I am on cloud 9 when I am following Him, but sometimes I can feel like I have no idea what direction is up, and what direction is down. I can feel like I am taking giant leaps into what He has before me, and then sometimes I feel like I am taking the tiniest steps ever! Sometimes I can even wonder if what He has before me will even be worth it. What happens if I don’t like what He has for me?
Even though Charlie didn’t know where we were taking Him, he knew he could trust us. I heard the quote recently “God doesn’t give us a spotlight, he gives us a lamp”. I will be honest that sometimes I can wish that God really did give me a spotlight instead of a lamp. I bet you can feel like that too. However, in Him giving us a lamp where we can only see one or two steps ahead, He also gives us the opportunity to put our trust in Him beyond what we can see.
God knows the desires of your heart, in fact He put them there. He remembers the promises He spoke to you, and He knows the uncertainty and fears that will invade the way. He knows that with every step you take in child-like faith and anticipation, you get closer and closer to what He has before you. He has something beautiful ahead. Keep trusting that His ways are good, that the One who created you will fulfill the desires of your heart, and like Charlie when he saw the life size Thomas, that you will stand in awe of how great our God is .