Sunday, July 5, 2009

Signs on the way

A few months ago, the funniest news on the Internet was that Google Maps had mapped a route from any address in the United Kingdom to any address in the United States. At about Number 29 on the instructions, one is told to drive through the Channel Tunnel, then through France, then to swim to Boston and start driving again. Time at sea, 29 days.

Karen, the driver, and Jill, the navigator, drove slowly through the New Zealand resort town on the way to the geyser park entrance. Karen kept her eyes on heavy traffic and asked which intersection they’d just crossed. Jill couldn’t see, so they stopped at the curb and Jill hopped out to see the street sign. But it was information only, not street names. Arrows pointed in different directions to landmarks. As Jill slid back into the car, she laughed and said, “That was the corner of Hospital and Toilet streets!”

Along Hwy U.S. 89 in northern Arizona, there is a small, green sign on the Navajo Indian Reservation which reads, “Six Mile Village (3 miles).”

A signpost on a dusty, rutted road in rural Queen Creek, Arizona, says “Happy Rd. Dead End.”

Signs are meant to tell us where we are. What to expect. Or where to go. It’s very helpful to have signs on street-corner poles or nicely lit at night. It’s more difficult when they’re placed at different heights on walls, obscured by vegetation, vandalized, or missing altogether.

When we read words on the computer screen or the page, we’re reading alphabet letters combined into phonemes and words (mind-images in themselves); words join in phrases and sentences to convey a concept. Here’s a similar process: black dots on a grid signify a pitch; when they’re joined in a melody line or in harmonic chord progression, we call it music. Mathematics: let’s not go there!

On national holidays, we salute the flag, sing patriotic music, and celebrate the culture and traditions of our fore-parents. When we sign a name to documents, we promise, on our reputation and temporal goods, to honor the agreement.

God has given us signs which are timeless. There are hundreds of them, including the rainbow, the cross, communion, and the natural world. Many people had visions of the future which included symbols and metaphors.

Jesus performed “signs” and wonders, but never on demand or to prove Himself; rather, His signs showed only the love of God for humankind: healing, resurrection, grace, provision, restoration. He signed His name to the covenant which guarantees not condemnation, but eternal life for our souls. On the cross, His wounds and lash marks signified our healing. His perfect baptism is ours by faith, whether we’re baptized in a church’s font, a lake, or a barrel. The yoke that symbolizes our unbearable burden of “trying” to be saved is not ours to shoulder—but Jesus’ yoke entirely.

The signs and miracles of God and His saints are not a thing of the past. They’re not a distant-future event to be wished for. The gifts of the Holy Spirit are ours, NOW. The voice in your heart that says to turn to the left or right is God’s voice writing His will for your life. He is empowering you to be the sign of God on earth. You are God’s signature to unbelievers. What an honor and what a responsibility!
Then the disciples went out and preached everywhere, and the Lord worked with them and confirmed his word by the signs that accompanied it. Mark 16:20 NIV.

God has changed your life. Even in the moments of reading this article, He is giving you the spark that will flare up and dispel the darkness. Take the name of Jesus with you. It’s a sign that will mean different things to different people. But He will put His sign in their hearts, too. Lives will be changed. And changed lives have a large and legible sign—a testimony that changes other lives.

Signs on the way can tell us where we are, what to expect, or where we’re going. What does your sign say?

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