When I was a member of a club, I ran Thomas often at train shows and open houses, to the delight of children and their parents. I well remember the squeals of a little girl as she came into one of our open houses. When her eyes fell on Thomas across the layout, she called out, “Thomas, Thomas, look Mama…”, as she ran across the room. Just as she got up to him, Thomas’ eyes moved towards her and she squealed, “Mama, Mama, he looked at me, Thomas is real, he’s real!!” Moments like that made him worth every penny and there were plenty of those moments to cherish.
Then there was a meeting. Apparently one of the members had objected to Thomas running through their expensive and hard built scenery and so a vote had to be brought up. Though they were never named, it was clear from the agitated stance who it was, a modeler whose work I liked and looked to for inspiration. Not wanting a war to break out over something I thought trivial, I offered not to run the locomotive any longer. But, the die was cast, the issue had to be properly resolved and, by an overwhelming majority, Thomas was voted to stay.
Sadly, the friendship I had with the modeler involved, did not survive the debate. They chose to carry the resentment on, even though I never ran Thomas again. When I heard news of his death a few months later, I was deeply saddened at the thought of carrying such a chip on one’s shoulder into eternity over something so utterly pointless. Now more than ever I remember that this is just a hobby, a mindless platform that God has blessed me with and to use to reach others. One day it will all burn, a thousand years from now it will be a distant, fading memory of a temporal life, as we live forever in His presence—or apart from it. Never forget that.
The more His patience is abused, the sharper will be the wrath He inflicts. All the time men are abusing His patience, God is whetting His sword, and the longer it is whetting the sharper will be the edge…Presume not upon God’s patience. The exercise of it is not eternal; you are at present under His patience, yet while you are unconverted you are also under His anger: (Psa 7:11) “God is angry with the wicked every day.” You know not how soon His anger may turn His patience aside, and step before it. It may be His sword is drawn out of the scabbard, His arrows may be settled in His bow, and perhaps there is but a little time before you may feel the edge of the one or the point of the other, and then there will be no more time for patience in God to us, or petition from us to Him. If we die without repentance, He will have no longer mercy to pardon, nor patience to bear.—Stephen Charnock