As a kid of eight or nine years old, I liked to walk along railroad tracks and pick up interesting debris. The best score was a railroad spike, but I also collected a lot of anthracites. I don’t know why I was fascinated by coal, but I was. One day I was showing my dad things that I’d found on the tracks. Looking over the coal, dad told me that back during the Depression people were desperate and that led them to some bad actions. One such action was that they’d find a spot where the tracks were heading into an uphill run, then they’d soap the rails so that the train would stall as the wheels just spun. While the wheels were spinning and railroad workers scrambled to spread sand for traction, people would jump up on the coal cars and kick coal off so that they’d have coal for their furnaces. The thing that made this story really stick in my mind was that the house we lived in had a coal chute from back when the home had been heated with coal. I was not allowed to play in that area, but it was fascinating to me.

The lesson I take from this story is that our present lives are filled with artifacts and anecdotes from the past. Actions were taken by others, whether for bad or good, that make impressions and impacts on our lives right now. Likewise, our present choices will affect the lives of others who come after us. The thing about the past impacting us is that we may feel the effects, but not discern the reasons for those prior actions. For instance, when I was a kid, I never pondered why someone built train tracks. Trains were just a fact to me. I never looked at the miles and miles of track and considered the hard labor of the people who’d laid those tracks. I certainly didn’t appreciate how the trains had made commerce possible in distant and previously unconnected territories. The railroads stitched the country together.

In like fashion, some people don’t have much use for the Old Testament because it feels so ancient and disconnected from their present world. But God caused the whole Bible to be written and transmitted down through the ages because each era, each character, and each encounter with God laid down a crimson line. That crimson line is the salvation of God delivered to us by Jesus Christ. All of time, history past, present, future, and eternal is interconnected by the shed blood of Jesus Christ and the redemption Jesus worked for us.

Some things in the older parts of the Bible may seem irrelevant to some people, but that is only because they haven’t yet come to appreciate the connection, the reasons, and the lessons offered to us from those past events. God has been at work since before Creation laying track to lead us to the eternal kingdom of Heaven. All our present benefits come to us along that crimson line, and all our forever glories are only reached by staying true to the One who built the line. I encourage you to study the Bible, even parts that seem difficult because there are treasures strewn all along the crimson line of salvation. I find new treasures every time I read my Bible, you can too!

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