Life is like a mountain railroad,
With an engineer that's brave;
We must make the run successful,
From the cradle to the grave;
These words begin an old gospel song called, "Life's Railway to Heaven." It's a favorite of mine that has sentimental value to me -- ever since my grandfather told me the following story before he died:
My grandfather said when I was two years old, I was standing in the middle of his living room floor and crying about something. He picked me up and held me close to his chest. Then he sat down in a rocking chair and, with one hand, guided my head to rest upon his shoulder. As we rocked, he slowly sang this song into my ear and gently patted my back. I eventually stopped crying while being comforted by the tone of grandpa's voice and the rhythmic motion of the chair. Grandpa's kind gesture assured me I had nothing to fear and that everything would be okay. Little did I know then how prophetic, yet encouraging, this simple song was as the words now ricochet in my mind:
Watch the curves, the hills, the tunnels;
Never falter, never fail;
Keep your hand upon the throttle,
And your eye upon the rail.
Life is like that, you know -- so many unforeseen twists and turns, dangerous hills and dark tunnels. I've faced a lot of these life challenges that I care not to relive. But, with each one, grandpa's singing echoed from afar:
Blessed Savior, Thou wilt guide us,
Til we reach that blissful shore;
Where the angels wait to join us
In thy praise for evermore.
I miss my grandpa, but I know I will see him again. I'm sure, at that moment, we'll embrace each other once more and, perhaps, sing together a different song -- one of praise and adoration to the Great Engineer who kept us both safe until we finally made it home.
("Life's Railway to Heaven," 1890, was a collaborative effort between composer Charlie D. Tillman and a minister named M. E. Abbey who supplied the lyrics.)
2015 Bob Valleau. Bob has over 30 years of writing experience for the Christian market. He was once named Christian Writer of the Year (San Antonio, Texas) by the American Christian Writers Association. He is the author of three books.