I didn't realize how much I missed it -- a train whistle, that is. I grew up in the oil-field town of Odessa, Texas. A town enlivened by constant train whistles signaling the carrying of petroleum in every direction, and warning of the danger in crossing the tracks.
Some three years ago we moved from Little Rock to the bedroom community of Maumelle. Then I heard it late at night -- a distant train whistle with its lonesome, but welcome sound. I now find myself straining each night to hear it again. Why? Because it lures me back to precious memories of the past. It speaks of parents long gone, a loving home life, and the precious days of childhood. It yields thoughts of church, and a large group of young people who now faithfully serve as leaders in the body of Christ. That whistle calls me to remember, and provides a soothing path to sleep.
Strange, isn't it, how a sound designated for warning can come to mean something completely different! Or, there's another possibility. The warnings can become so familiar that we cease to pay attention. As far as we are concerned they have lost their original intent. Take for instance the following:
"Remember Lot's wife."
"You shall not follow a multitude to do evil."
"Be watchful, stand firm in your faith, be courageous, be strong."
"Not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise."
These, and many more, are spiritual train whistles designed to warn us of danger. Wisdom dictates that we heed them.