Home > Uncategorized > Message from Peter’s Mom: The Train Ticket

Message from Peter’s Mom: The Train Ticket

I saw a post on the PRAY FOR PETER HELMS group page that sparked my interest (one of many that do), and I decided to comment. It was Casey McClain’s post about the train ticket story from the life of Corrie ten Boom (The Hiding Place).

Many of you are familiar with the story from ten Boom’s childhood when she asked her father a question, the answer to which she was not old enough to bear. Her father wisely instructed her that the Lord gives us answers when we must have them, and not before. Just as he himself had dealt with her as a father at the train station, giving her her ticket only just prior to boarding the train, the Lord gives grace to bear what we will be called upon to bear just before we need it.

I assure you moms out there that I have battled all the things any mother’s heart would in a crisis like this: grief, fear, anxiety, fatigue, discouragement. Three weeks ago, I don’t know that I could have born the events of this past week and a half. But let me share with you the thoughts that tumbled through my mind as I raced to the hospital last Thursday. (I hit every light on red and ended up behind the slowest drivers in Fort Worth. It was maddening.)

Days earlier, I had reread a couple of books that I commend to you. The first was Tim Ellsworth’s book God in the Whirlwind, the story of the tornado that wrecked the campus of Union University in February 2006. If you read that book, it will truly lead you to worship as you see how the Lord directed every piece of flying debris and every room that exploded in such a way as to spare each student’s life, even those who didn’t take the warnings seriously and who were not taking appropriate cover. One student was saved by a gumball machine that prevented a concrete wall from crushing him. Another was saved when a sofa flew across the room, pinned him to the ground, and sheltered him from a falling wall. The Lord’s hand covered each of these students with personal, divine attention, so that, though responders initially expected scores of fatalities, not a one was lost.

The other book I reread was an old favorite of mine, the semi-autobiographical novel Stepping Heavenward by Elizabeth Prentiss. Prentiss was a dear godly woman who has mentored me over the years as I have reread her books several times since I was thirteen. The following passage, written from a mother’s perspective, tells how her family faced a serious illness in a young daughter: “One morning she seemed almost gone, and we knelt around her with bursting hearts, to commend her parting soul to Him in whose arms we were about to place her. But it seemed as if all He asked of us was to come to that point, for then He gave her back to us, and she is still ours, only sevenfold dearer. I was so thankful to see dear Ernest’s faith triumphing over his heart, and making him so ready to give up even this little lamb without a word. Yes, we will give our children to Him if He asks for them. He shall never have to snatch them from us by force.”

The thoughts from this remarkable and rich incidence of God’s Providence (my son Caleb lived through the tornado as a Union student), coupled with the yielded meekness portrayed by Mrs. Prentiss, fortified my heart with fresh truth twelve days ago. If the Lord asked for my son, I wanted to yield to Him, knowing that His hand would never cease to spare or save when it served His holy will.


Categories: Uncategorized
  1. Cherry Neill
    August 13, 2010 at 12:20 am

    Just for Selah

    Well said, Selah, and what a blessing you are, though very much a human mother… I’ve struggled for many years with waiting to get the train ticket when I needed it and not when I’m looking ahead with dread and fear and un-faith and think I need it now! God’s mercies are indeed new every morning….I love the Stepping Heavenward book, too…Something I often think about is that I don’t want to stand before my Savior on that Great Day and say, “If I’d known that Your plans were good, I would have trusted You more.” God forbid! We know that He is good and He is love. Let us walk by faith and not by sight.
    With love and continual prayers, Cherry

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