This is a true story taken from the 1894 edition of “Touching Incidents And Remarkable Answers To Prayer.” As you'll see, this wonderful story seems to speak to adults as well as to children. It's easy to see why Jesus urged the disciples to
Permit the little children to come to Me, for to such as these belongs the kingdom of heaven.” (Luke 18:16)
In traveling we often meet with people of different nationalities and languages. We also come across various incidents, some sorrowful, and others joyful. I recently witnessed one of the most joyful incidents while traveling on the railroad.
The train was going west, and it was evening. At a station a little girl about eight years old came aboard, carrying a little purse under her arm. She came into my car and quickly took a seat. She then began to study each face, but all were strange to her. She appeared weary, and using her purse for a pillow, she laid down on the seat to try to get a little sleep.
Soon the conductor came along collecting tickets and fare. Observing him, she asked him if she could lie there. The gentlemanly conductor replied that she could, and then kindly asked for her ticket. She informed him that she didn't have one, and then I overheard the following conversation. Said the conductor:
“Where are you going?”
“I'm going to heaven,” she answered.
“Who's paying your fare?” he asked.
She said, “Mister, does this railroad lead to heaven, and does Jesus travel on it?”
“I don't think so,” he answered. “Why did you think that?”
“Why, sir, before my mommy died she used to sing to me about a heavenly railroad, and you looked so nice and kind that I thought this was that railroad. My mommy used to sing about Jesus on the heavenly railroad, and that He paid the fare for everybody, and that the train stopped at every station to take people on board. My mom don't sing to me anymore. Nobody sings to me now, and I thought I'd take the train and go see my mommy. Mister, do you sing to your little girl about the railroad that goes to heaven? You have a little girl, don't you?”
With tears in his eyes, he replied, “No, my little dear, I have no little girl now. I had one once, but she died some time ago and went to heaven.”
“Did she go over this railroad, and are you going to see her now?” she asked.
By this time every person in the coach was upon their feet, and most of them were weeping. An attempt to describe what I witnessed is almost impossible. Some said, “God bless this little girl.” Overhearing someone say that she was an angel, the little girl earnestly replied, “Yes, my mommy used to say that I would be an angel some day.”
Addressing herself once more to the conductor, she asked him, “Do you love Jesus? I do, and if you love Him, He will let you ride to heaven on His railroad. I'm going there, and I wish you would go with me. I know Jesus will let me into heaven when I get there, and He will let you in too and everybody that will ride on His railroad - yes, all these people. Wouldn't you like to see heaven, and Jesus, and your little girl?”
These words, so pathetically and innocently uttered, brought a great gush of tears from all eyes, but most profusely from those of the conductor. Some who were already traveling on the heavenly railroad shouted aloud for joy.
She now asked the conductor, “Mister, may I lie here until we get to heaven?”
“Yes, dear, yes,” he answered.
“Will you wake me up when we get there so that I can see my mommy, and your little girl, and Jesus?” she asked. “I so much want to see them all.”
His answer came in broken phrases, but in words very tenderly spoken, “Yes, dear angel, yes. God bless you.” “Amen!” was sobbed by more than a score of voices.
Turning her eyes once more upon the conductor, she questioned him again, “What should I tell your little girl when I see her? Should I tell her that I saw her daddy on Jesus' railroad? Should I?”
This brought a fresh flood of tears from all present, and the conductor knelt by her side and, embracing her, wept the reply he could not utter. At this point the brakeman called out the name of another station.
The conductor got up and asked the brakeman to take care of his duty for him at that station, for he was busy. That was a precious place. I Thank God that I was a witness to this scene, and I was sorry that at that point I was obliged to leave the train.
A letter from the conductor to Pastor Dosh
Dear Pastor Dosh,
I wish to unburden my heart by writing to you and saying that that angel visit on the train was a blessing to me, although I didn't realize it in its fullness until some hours later. But blessed be the Redeemer, I know now that I am His and He is mine. I no longer wonder why Christians are happy. Oh, my joy, my joy!
The instrument of my salvation has gone to be with God. I wanted to adopt her in the place of my little daughter, who is now in heaven, and with this intention I took her back to her hometown, where she left the train.
When I talked with my wife about adopting her, she replied, “Yes, certainly, and immediately too, for there is a Divine providence in this. Oh,” she said, “I could never refuse to take under my charge the instrument of my husband's salvation.”
When I returned to the town where I had left the little girl, I asked about her and learned that in just three days after her return she died suddenly, without any apparent disease, and her happy soul had gone to dwell with her mother, my little girl, and the angels in heaven.
I was sorry to hear of her death, but my sorrow is turned to joy when I think that my daughter in heaven received word from earth concerning her daddy, and that he is on the heavenly railway. Oh! sir, I think I see my little girl near the Redeemer. I think I hear her sing, “I'm safe at home, and daddy and mommy are coming.” I find myself sending back the reply, “Yes, my darling, we are coming and will soon be there.” Oh, my dear sir, I am so glad that I know you! May the blessing of the great God rest upon you. Please write to me, and be assured I would be most happy to meet you again.
We learn many things from this incident.
“From the mouths of infants and nursing babes Thou hast established strength” (Psalm 8:2)
Not only should we never be afraid to speak out for Jesus, no matter where we are, but we should never give UP praying for the salvation of those we love. The conductor's wife was obviously a godly woman who must have been praying for her husband's salvation. It looks like God honored her prayers with a visit from this “little angel” who came in love, boldness, and with a word from the Lord about the conductor's daughter. The right word at the right time is a mighty tool in the hand of God.