“Where are you going, my friend?”

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By Pastor Ron Buxton

In the book entitled Tales of Addiction and Inspiration for Recovery, there is an interesting and true story about Albert Einstein. For those readers not acquainted with him, he is regarded as perhaps the most brilliant mind of the last century. The following paragraphs are an encounter that Albert Einstein had during his lifetime, and from which I want to make my commentary about in today’s article.

       Albert Einstein was traveling from Princeton on a train. When the conductor came down the aisle punching tickets, Einstein reached into his vest pocket; he could not find his ticket, so he reached into his trousers pockets. It wasn’t there so he looked in his briefcase, but still could not find it. He looked in the seat next to him, but it was not there. Panic flashed across his face.

       The conductor kindly said, “Dr. Einstein, I know who you are–we all know who you are. I’m sure that you bought a ticket. Don’t worry about it.”

       The conductor then continued on his way punching tickets. But just before he went to the next boxcar of the train, he turned around and saw the great scientist on his hands and knees. He was looking under the seat for his ticket. It was causing quite a commotion now, so the train official returned to help the famous professor.

       He rushed back and said, “Dr. Einstein…Don’t worry. I know who you are. No problem. You don’t need a ticket.”

       Einstein responded, “Young man, I too know who I am. What I don’t know is where I am going!”

       If life is truly a journey, and I think that it is, then most people know exactly how Albert Einstein felt that day. Upon entrance into this world, we have all climbed aboard this “train” called life. For some people, the “train” is very comfortable and friendly. Yet, they still don’t know where they are going. Others find the journey to be hostile and anything but comfortable. Nevertheless, they also don’t have any idea about their final destination either. Just like Albert Einstein, they find themselves upon their knees in desperation. How we get on our knees will ultimately decide our understanding of life itself.

       It seems that our job aboard this “train”– we call life–is to deal with our accommodations as best we can. For some, even that is too much, and they seek substances or circumstances to mitigate their bad “train” experience. Unfortunately, they find themselves on their knees as a result of stupefaction as a means to deaden the emptiness of the journey. That is the sad reality for millions of people today, and I’ve met hundreds of those folks on my own journey aboard the “train”.

       The good news is that there is a “Conductor” aboard the train to help us understand our journey, and instruct us about where we should be going. Like Einstein frantically looking for the answer to where he was headed to, it also requires us to get on our knees. But the posture is more reflective of the humility of the heart, and not so much as a desperate attempt at locating a ticket stub. In fact, it is the awareness of the destination that makes the journey worth all of its discomforts and inconveniences.

       Think about it. If you knew that a lousy “boxcar” would eventually bring you to some kind of vacation destination that you always dreamed about, the journey would definitely be different. Folks, Jesus has “punched our ticket” to a final destination that is “out of this world” and amazing! But it remains to be your choice as to why you fall on your knees. There are only two options: stupefaction or sanctification. It is your choice. The Conductor is waiting for your response, and the train will stop at some point. Where are you going, my friend?