The Missing Bus

Author: Michael Babienco

September 2023

The driver of the sparsely populated bus formed a large “X” with his arms and quickly drove off. We stared after the departing bus. How had we gotten this part of the trip so wrong?

Caitlyn and I had arrived at our final target research city near the end of our two-week vision trip to Japan. We went to the visitor center of the 200,000-person city to pick up a map of the local bus line. We trusted that the bus aspect of the public transportation system would be easy to utilize, just as the train system had been.
After a confusing mess of twists and turns and comparing Google Maps with our paper map, we finally arrived at the bus stop. A single bench and a timetable taped to a small metal cabinet awaited. I checked my JapanTransit mobile app. The expected bus should arrive at any moment.

The first bus drove up. It didn’t match our bus passes. “Are you sure our bus is coming?” Caitlyn asked. I checked my phone again and then translated the bus timetable via Google Translate.

“Yeah, unless this timetable and JapanTransit are both wrong,” I replied.

Another bus drove up. We asked the bus driver if that bus line took our bus passes. “JR Pass?” The bus driver shook his head, formed a large “X” with his arms, and drove off.

For the sake of our sanity, Caitlyn and I double-checked all our information. I texted a friend at AFM’s Pnong Project to check our information for us. Everything looked good. We shuffled our feet, checked our phones every few seconds, and stared down the street.

Another bus drove up at last! “JR Pass?” we asked hopefully. The bus driver nodded, and we got on. Finally! We were not happy with how difficult the bus system had been to use.

After getting seated, we checked our phones—the bus had arrived one whole minute late.

In life, we often expect everything to happen on our timetable. When it doesn’t, we tend to fret and worry, forgetting that God knows what is best at all times and in all seasons. Whatever may be going on in your life now, remember to cast “all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:7)—even when the bus is one minute late.