It’s Easter time, and I’m reminded of my father and the train trip we took in search of a better life.
I was eight years old, and we were travelling by train headed to Lima, the capital city of Peru. My father had gotten second class tickets which meant there was no assigned seating in our coach. The train station was crowded with people travelling, people selling food and trinkets and thieves. My younger sister and I stayed close to my Mom but somewhere in the train station, we got separated from my father and brothers and cousin who was with us at the time.
My Mom found a place for us to sit and after some time the train engines came on signaling that it was time for departure. The train began moving slowly. But my father and brothers were nowhere in sight. The thought of leaving without my father was unthinkable and so I slipped away from my Mom and made my way to the rear of the coach where the entrance was.
It was wrong of me to leave my Mom, but I wanted to find my Dad. It was a frantic moment as the train started rolling out of the station. The peddlers hurriedly jumped off and the remaining passengers dashed on.
Then suddenly, I saw them at the back of the coach – my father and brothers and cousin. They had barely made it on. The people were pushing and shoving, and there was my father with his arms stretched out holding onto two metal rails.
Inside his outstretched arms were my brothers and cousin. I could see the intensity of the moment etched in my father’s face – full of sweat and anguish. If he let go of the rails he would fall right in front of the oncoming coach. I held my breath. He held on until my brothers were pushed in and no longer pressing against him and at last he made it in.
I will always remember that day as a day I saw my father’s love for us children. His arms stretched out holding on for dear life and yet willing to risk it to ensure our safety and well-being.
And the journey, which ultimately ended in America, really was motivated by that love.
It’s Easter time and I think of Jesus who was lifted up on the cross with arms stretched out and nailed to the cross. There is no comparison of course, but I think of the great love the Father had and has for us — His children.
He sent Jesus to die so that we might live. What an incredible price to pay. And to think He did so while we were still sinners. It’s hard to wrap my mind around the enormity of what happened at the cross. How deep was and is the Father’s love for us.
What I do know is that I’m thankful – thankful that the penalty for my sins have been paid for and that I can be His child. Thankful that Jesus rose again – that death had no power over him. Thankful for the promise that we will live with Him in eternity. Thankful that because of what happened at Easter, I can live, truly live set free from the grips of the enemy.
Jesus said, “And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all peoples to Myself.”
Holy Father, may Jesus be lifted up in our hearts, in our homes, in our communities this Easter and may you draw many to you through us.