Waiting by the Tracks

A while back I heard a poignant story from an elderly gentleman who had spent many long winters in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. He said that these events really had taken place and that he had seen them with his own eyes. The story touched my heart and I have not been able to forget it. Let me try to relate what happened to you as best as I can recollect . . .


Many years ago two brothers lived in the quaint little town of Eagle River, situated near the Wisconsin border next to miles and miles of untamed wilderness in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. These boys grew up in a little house near the railroad tracks, just a stone’s throw away from the Eagle River depot.

The younger fellow, being somewhat limited in his mental abilities, adored his older brother, who loved and accepted him just the way that he was. Thus it was a heartbreaking moment when his older brother boarded a train and went off to fight in the war.

Waiting by the tracks. Photo by James Staddon Day after day the young man would go down to the railroad tracks, patiently waiting for his older brother to return home. Weeks and then months slowly ticked past. Every day from morning until night, rain or shine, you could see him standing there beside the tracks . . . waiting. Winter arrived, and with it came the icy winds and blasting snow. And still he stood there, bundled against the cold, waiting for his brother to return home.

Months melted into years. Year after year, those who regularly passed through the town knew they would still be able to find the younger brother standing there beside the tracks, patiently waiting for his brother to come home. With his mental limitations, he could not comprehend that his brother would never return. He had been killed in action.

We are also waiting. Motivated by love, just like the younger brother, we are awaiting the return of our Father’s only begotten Son. But our hope is not in vain. We have no fear that he will not return. We are awaiting a risen Savior!

“Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come” (Matthew 24:42).


  1. Mrs. Ant... March 16, 2009 at 5:54 am #

    That was a great reminder story to read this morning. Thanks.

  2. Daniel March 16, 2009 at 4:19 pm #

    That is precisely what Thurman Cox’s message was on last Sunday! And what I say unto you I say unto all…WATCH. (Mark 13:37) Excellent illustration – if that man waited so patiently for his older brother, how much more persistently and expectantly should we watch for Christ!

  3. Dad and Mom April 1, 2009 at 7:44 pm #

    Such a sad story without hope. But, thanks be to our precious God for His blessed hope – Titus 2:13.

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