Thursday, July 12, 2012

An Eventful Train Ride

While Providence supports,
Let saints securely dwell;
That hand, which bears all nature up,
Shall guide his children well.
~~Philip Doddridge

An encounter. Maybe that would have been a better title for Chapter 6. But the title I gave to the companion's corresponding chapter will do well enough, since it was an encounter that made the train ride eventful. We saw Horace get wonderfully saved in the last episode and at the beginning of this one, he had regained most of his strength and vitality after his affliction. He had become both fatherless and motherless upon the death of his father, and was returning home on a train after that event. It is here that the author introduced two of the principals of this story: Annie and Maggie. I love the way Mrs. Prentiss wove these two young ladies into Horace's consciousness as he sat near them on his ride home. Actually, there were four young ladies sitting together and chatting at first, but from the mind of our young hero, we watched while two of them got off at the stop before his, and we also took note that he was relieved to see which two remained. We also had opportunity to see his chivalry and then experienced his befuddlement when one of the remaining two young ladies recognized him from some time in the past:

"Who is she? Where can I have met her?" he vainly asked himself. But he had presence of mind enough not to ask her, and he did not pretend to conceal that he was glad to see her, trusting soon to learn, in conversation, who she really was.

But he didn't find out who she was. He only pretended to know and that was a blunder on his part. By the time the chapter ended, with all three of them getting off at the same stop, they all parted with Horace bewildered and confused. You'll have to read it to see it all unfold. It's really quite amusing, I'd say.

But what did I see in this chapter? More than anything else, I see the providence of our God. Not only in the encounter itself, but also in all that led up to it. I see God ordering the steps of this young man who had just recently returned to Him from captivity by the world. And even though it ends with Horace in a state of bewilderment, we leave it knowing that we had been given just a taste of big things to come.

What do you know of God's providence in your life? Is He ordering your steps, even in times of confusion and uncertainty? We'll see what He does in the life of our hero as the plot progresses. His life, albeit fictitious, has been written in this precious little book, authored by one who knew firsthand of the workings of a loving Savior in the life of His children. Our lives have been written out by this same Savior and we should face our futures knowing that all that He ordains is right, and He holds our books in His hand.

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