It was may 4th, 1976 early in the morning, that I realized that I had forgotten to buy a new ticket for the train fare, to go to my work.
Usually I would buy the new monthly ticket on my way back home. But as I was talking with a guy, who was a little younger than I was in those days, about surrendering his life to Jesus, I completely forgot about the new ticket.
As I was every day in the same carriage at the front of the train, I knew most of the travelers, who also were going to their work or, in the evening, going home.
It was not the first time I talked to him, and actually he was quiet annoyed that I again handed him a tract, and started to talk with him.
He told me: “No problem to talk with you, but not about the Bible okay?”
When I told him not to delay his decision, as it one day may be too late for him, he said angrily to me: “Okay I’ll call you a few minutes before I die, then you may lead me to your Christ”. He stood up, threw away the tract I gave him, and took an other seat. Leaving me by myself.
I kept asking myself, was I doing it wrong to push so hard, trying to make him decide for Christ? Was it my fault that he hardened his heart?
What did I do wrong?
Only the next day I realized I had to push that hard, for there in that train this young man got his very last chance to give his life to Jesus. The following morning he was gone, together with all the others, I had learned to know.
When the tram arrived at the Central Station I rushed towards the counter to buy the ticket. It was busy and there were several people, in a long line, lined up in front of me. It was also going very slowly, but because I knew I still had to buy the ticket I left home earlier than usual, so there was no danger of missing the train.
Then, when one person was ready at the counter, and I did a step forward, I heard, as if it was an audible voice, some man say: “Don’t buy that ticket!”
I looked behind me to see who said that, but there was nobody behind me. I was the last in the row. I thought I had just imagined it.
Again somebody was ready at the counter and so I took an other step forward. And again this voice was there. “I said don’t buy that ticket!”
Again I looked around, but there was nobody who could have said that.
I started to feel a bit uneasy, and didn’t know what to think of it. Was someone maybe playing a joke on me?
While I was considering to maybe go by bus, and thinking that if I did that, I would arrive for sure too late at my work, the voice was there for a third time. This time it sounded irritated. “Did I not tell you, not to buy that ticket? Why are you still here?”
Now I got really scared and ran away from the train station, to the bus station, and on shaking knees bought a month ticket for the bus.
When I was about ten minutes in the bus I suddenly had a joy and peace falling over me that I had not experienced before. I started to praise the Lord loudly in that bus. I just couldn’t stop.
Imagine in peak hour in a full bus? People were laughing and must have thought that I was crazy, but I couldn’t stop.
Once I was out of the bus and was walking towards my work I decided to tell them the whole story. This morning was going very strange anyway. I didn’t care what they would say or think. I was going to tell them.
Then I was confronted with reactions I didn’t understand. I was greeted with “How come you are here?”, and “How come you are this early?” (while I was over an hour late). “We thought we would never see you again”
I at first thought they were joking, but I could see on their faces that they were serious and puzzled by the fact that I walked in. Many of my colleagues came to me to hear what happened. When I told them their reaction was that I was telling them a strange story, and most didn’t believe me.
After this it was my turn to listen.
They told me about the train crash, which I indeed in no way could have survived, if I was in that carriage.
The Schiedam train disaster, in which were 3 trains involved, took place in the morning of May 4th, 1976 at 7:54 hour, near the station of Schiedam Rotterdam-West (now Schiedam Centrum).
The international Rhine Express boat train (D-train D215) from Hook of Holland, which was on its way to Munich in Germany, and was hauled by NS Class 1300 electric locomotive no. 1311 collided frontally with a train of the then new Sprinter type, train 2008 of Stoptrein 4116, coming from Rotterdam Central Station.
The collision caused the deaths of 24 people (in the forward carriage of the 2008), 5 severe casualties and several tens of less severely injured. (In the other carriages).
This was the third time God saved my life in a miraculous way, and it gave a boost to the ministry as many wanted to hear what happened, and after hearing dedicated or rededicated their lives to Jesus.
How about you?
How many chances do you think you will still get, before it will be eternally too late for you? If you keep delaying it will be one day too late for you too. Just like it was for the young man in the train. I invite you again: Come to Jesus right now, now you have the chance!
Or maybe you you already came to Christ before, but you became lukewarm or even cold, than I call on you to bring a change in your life now. Now you still have the chance to do so.
2 Corinthians 6:2
He says, “At the acceptable time I listened to you, And on the day of salvation I helped you.” Behold, now is “the acceptable time,” behold, now is “the day of salvation”