Boarding the Bus to Nowhere


Scheduled another topic to write on today, but got hijacked by a story that touched me so deeply I must comment.

Lars Walker at Brandywine Books clued me into the heartbreaking tale of a woman from southern Thailand who 25 years ago boarded the The bus to nowherewrong bus in her country and wound up 1,200 miles away from home. Since she spoke only the rare language of her village, she found no one in the remote city who could understand her. With no means of support, she fell into vagrancy. A government round-up of beggars landed her in a sponsored shelter for street people. A chance encounter this month with three people who spoke her language resolved her two-and-a-half-decade nightmare. At 76, she’s finally on her way to a reunion with her family.

You can read more here.

When I hear stories of people locked in jail for years only to be released after further evidence proves them innocent, I can’t imagine the crushing sense of years lost. Wrong place, wrong time means a chunk of life ripped out of you—forever.

Or you’re just some average Joe or Jane who makes an everyday decision that bears bitter fruit for the rest of your life. This Thai woman’s story grips me because she made one simple error and paid for it for twenty-five years. One mistake anyone can make, but a not-so-funny comedy of errors spun it into tragedy.

It shakes me.

Years ago, maybe even decades, perhaps you got on a similar bus. Now you look back at the wake of chaos trailing behind you and wonder, “How did I get so lost?” Or “God, I got on in faith, so why does that decision still haunt me? Why can’t I find home?”

If that’s you, let me pray for you. Drop me a line at the e-mail address at top-right, or leave a comment (even anonymously).

I can’t answer why or how, but I can pray that the Lord restores all those lost years wandering in a far-off land where no one understands you, not even other Christians.

Be blessed.

12 thoughts on “Boarding the Bus to Nowhere

  1. Dan, this is wonderful. I felt like that years ago, knowing God had a better way that I was trading in for the things of this world. It’s really hard to get off whatever bus it is that led us away from home, but God really does supply what we need to follow Him, even if it doesn’t seem possible.

    I’m sure I’ll get on other buses in the future, and may be on one now that I’m not aware of. We can only trust God to send people to speak the language we understand to get us back home.

    • Lisa,

      We may not know that the destination of the bus we boarded will take us far from where we desire to go. I know that in my own life, despite much prayer and consultation with wiser Christians, almost nothing has turned out as I had planned. Why? Only God knows.

      I think many people ask why, Christians especially. We want to know we’re in God’s will and living the life He wants most from us. At least that’s always been my prayer. Few of us prepare for a life from Him that runs counter to prevailing wisdom, particularly when it challenges the status quo and forces one into a perpetual state of contrariness.

  2. Thank you for this touching story. It strikes a nerve with me, and tears flow freely as I read. I have only recently found the bus back home — back to faith — after a long absence born out of heartache.

  3. I’ve been on several wrong buses in my life, most of them symbolic for stupid decisions I’ve made. God, in his wisdom, has taught me to be more cautious when I decide which bus to get on. After each incident, I had a fear of buses. Eventually, God reminded me that we have a journey to be on that requires riding. Which bus, however, is a crucial part of that journey.

    • Brad,

      I know in my own life, very few of the decisions I made that put me on the wrong bug were stupid. Each one came at great prayer expense and much consultation with smarter Christians than me. And still they turned out badly.

      I think for a lot of people, only hindsight reveals a decision to be “stupid.” Even then, alternatives may have been stupider. We can live in regret or move on.

  4. Bob

    I’ve been reading your blog here for awhile but never added my $.02 worth. I was on the bus of our church for 30yrs when the drivers (leadership) made a wrong turn probably around 10 years ago just out of a hunger for more of God. Like you I am also pentecostal but really identified with your Charasmatic Churches cult of the new article.
    Our church jumped into the Brownsville Revival with both feet but then opened up ourselves to everything else out there it seems. (every wind of doctrine). I actually became the worship leader on staff (my wife also on) about 6 yrs ago but was being presured to worship as IHOP( Kansas City revival) does about 4 yrs ago. Our leadership really bought into it. But the small still voice inside was telling me something was wrong. It’s like they are mindlessly mystically like a calling down “The Presence” ( is it really the Holy Spirit?) in a narcistic soulful way. Like the music is some spell that we cast. I really tried to ride the balance of mindful and mindless worship but how can you worship in spirit and truth without the truth part? Something really is wrong there.
    Our government to an “elder led” church and then took in a pastor who was led by everything else than sound doctrine that would take a turn anywhere it seemed. I was right with them until my wife and I just had to ask God for the real TRUTH. If you ask and listen He does answer. God lovingly showed us that we were way off what our true destination should be. It’s like a ship that turns a few degrees off at first but then ends up thousands of miles off course.
    We actually started to study how we should really read the Word. Exogesis instead of Isogesis and (Oh my) studying Theology.Thank God for good teachers out there. We had to leave the leadership about a year ago as they would not even consider any of it. We tried to lovingly share this with one of the elders and the pastor (“let’s reason together and talk about this”). This all was just Hate speech to them and we were not acting in love. We should be more tolerent of things(sound familiar).
    It has been one of the hardest things we’ve had to do in our lives but “what does it profit a man to gain the whole world but lose his soul”. I loved to lead God’s people be used of Him in worship and song but it seems for now the dream has all but been crushed. I want to relearn to worship the right way. I have had to surrender daily as to not become bitter as it feels as if God is letting this leadership get away with leading His little ones astray. There is so much more here.
    Learning what true joy is and knowing that we are on the right path is worth more than anything. Finding out where to turn next in this uncharted territory is the hard part. Can we really find rest for our souls at the crossroads? Jer 6:16

  5. Dee


    I like your photo of the bus to nowhere. Just a moment ago I glanced at it again, and like the young reader who encountered the phrase “God is nowhere” and reading it aloud read “God is now here”, this time I saw the words “now here”. It reminded me that even in those times when I feel alone, lost, or even abandoned I am none of those things.

    Keep writing, Dan. You are an encouragement and you always keep me thinking.

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