My An Arkie's Faith column from the June 28, 2023, issue of The Polk CountyPulse
The public address system on our train car crackled to life, and a scratchy voice announced, "nächste station, Murnau." "That's our station," I said to my wife and sister as I got out of my seat and started getting our luggage. Each one of us had a suitcase and a backpack. I grabbed my wife's and my sister's luggage and gave it to them. They headed for the train doors while the car was still moving. When the train came to a halt, I was grabbing my luggage off the overhead rack.
With my suitcase in one hand and my backpack in the other, I rushed down the steps from the train car to the doors. My wife and sister stepped onto the train platform as I ran for the door. There was one man between my travel companions and me. I stepped toward the door but was suddenly jerked back as the straps of my backpack caught on the railing beside the two steps down to the door. I turned around to free my backpack as the door closed. I frantically pushed the open-door button, but the doors would not open. In a few seconds, the train started moving out of the station.
Through the glass panes on the train door, I watched as my wife and sister stood on the platform, and I moved away from them on the train. "I can't believe that just happened," I thought. "What am I going to do now?"
I have been traveling through Germany with my wife and sister for the past week. When I planned the trip, I researched the German rail system and decided we would travel by rail. I purchased rail passes that allowed us to take as many journeys as we wanted on Deutsche Bahn trains. We had already used our passes to travel from Frankfurt to Hannover, Hannover to Berlin, and Berlin to Erfurt.
Today we were traveling from Erfurt to Oberammergau. After changing trains several times, our last change was in Murnau, where we would get the train to Oberammergau. But instead, I was still on the train headed to Garmisch-Partenkirchen, and I had the rail pass with me. My wife and sister were stranded at the train station in Murnau, and I needed to figure out what to do.
As I thought about my options, I remembered the advice I had read on the blog Brian's Guide to getting around Germany. "Make sure you are ready to jump off when the train arrives at your destination-- remember that at some stops, the train only stops for a minute or two. If you're not ready, you may end up taking an unscheduled diversion to Germany's Timbuktu. As the train pulls into your station, be standing at a door, and when the wheels grind to a halt, open the door and leap off. To open the door, look for a green button. As the disembarking passenger, you have the right-of-way over people trying to clamber aboard but be prepared to shove your way through any Teutons who aren't minding their manners."
"Well," I thought, "here I am on an unscheduled diversion to Germany's Timbuktu." I took out my phone to see where I was going and my options. My friend Bernd had taught me how to use the Deutsche Bahn app, and I quickly found that the next stop was in the small town of Ohlstadt. If I got off the train there, I could board a train back to Muranu in a little over an hour. "That is my best option," I thought. A few minutes later, I stood in front of the train door with my luggage in tow as the train stopped in Ohlstadt. I quickly pushed the open-door button and, a few seconds later, stood on the deserted platform beside the train, watching it leave the station.
No one had boarded the train, and I was the only one who had disembarked. I looked around at the surreal scene. The train station was a small shelter beside the train tracks with several benches. I sat down and took a moment to look at my surroundings. I was in a beautiful small town in the Bavarian Alps. Fantastic mountain views surrounded me, but I couldn't take the time to appreciate the beauty around me in every direction. I had to figure out what to do.
I checked the train schedule once again. It would be an hour before another train arrived. I pulled up my maps app and clicked on the transit button. I found the app very useful in navigating the city streets of Berlin and Erfurt and checked to see if there were any options here in the Bavarian countryside. I saw that in ten minutes, there was a bus going to Murnau. But to my dismay, the bus station was on the other side of town from the train station. I decided to try to catch the bus.
I started walking as fast as possible with my bad legs, backpack on my back, and suitcase bouncing down the cobblestone streets. I can't imagine what people were thinking as they saw an older man with a backpack and suitcase half running through their sleepy little town. I reached the bus stop with a minute or two to spare. I had just enough time to snap photos of the incredible scenery surrounding me. As I boarded the bus, a sense of relief washed over me. It was going to be okay. I would reunite with my wife and sister in a few minutes.
That evening as we walked through the quaint town of Oberammergau, I thought about the day's adventures. Our journey started by walking from our apartment to a tram stop a half mile away, where we took the tram to the Erfurt Hauptbahnhof. We took the train to Munich, where we changed to a train headed to Murnau. After the Murnau incident, we finally arrived in Oberammergau at about five o'clock.
Gentle Reader, in Revelation 22:11 ISV), the Bible says, "Let the one who does what is evil continue to do what is evil. Let the filthy person continue to be filthy. Let the righteous person continue to do what is right. And let the holy person continue to be holy." This scripture is a dire warning regarding death and the end times.
People who reject the gospel do not receive a second chance for salvation if they die. Eternity does not change anyone's status. The person who dies in an unsaved condition will be unsaved throughout eternity, and the saved person will be saved throughout eternity. Someday it will be too late for the unsaved to change their destination by repenting and believing in Jesus. Don't let the doors close on you before you can change your destination.