On Sunday nights I am preaching verse by verse through the book of Ephesians. Recently I preached from verse 7 about forgiveness of sin. While trying to come up with a good illustration of Biblical forgiveness, God brought a memory to my mind of something I had seen a couple of years ago here in Cambodia. This illustration is about an old train that looks kind of like the one pictured above.
Over the past 20 years, many families (most of them poverty-stricken) have built small houses and shacks along each side of the tracks where the train slowly rumbles through our city. When I say along the tracks, I mean that literally. In many of the houses you can stand in the front door and touch the train as it passes. The railways in Cambodia are in a state of great disrepair, but still the train (an engine pulling a few cars) comes through these neighborhoods periodically. Sometimes it comes several times in one week, and other times it may be a couple of weeks between trains. People have ropes and awnings strung across the tracks where they have set up small market stalls, makeshift restaurants, and laundry lines, and they have to move those things out of the way if a train comes through. When they hear the train coming, they usually have about 2 minutes or so to clear the tracks.