Signs and Wonders

This is a reprint of a piece that I wrote in the yearbook for Moody Bible Institude, 1987, “Modern Classic”. The format was a bit messed up in the original publication: probably because it was a bit long. So I wanted to reprint it as originally intended. There are a couple of minor changes in wording.

Chicago – 100 miles
We pass them all the time, everywhere we go. We hardly bother to notice them, yet we need them to get where we want to go. They sit on the side of the road, just signs, pointing quite unobtrusively to a destination that is far from where they are.

Chicago – 80 miles
Jesus Christ is our destination. He stands on the horizon and beckons us toward him – and we walk, run, scramble and crawl in his direction. He’s our primary reference point. By looking at him and drawing on His power, we can tell exactly how close we are to what we were meant to be.

Chicago – 60 miles
But sometimes things get in the way. We fall into dark holes or stumble along some obscure path; we look in the wrong direction or simply decide that the road is too difficult and we want a rest… now. That’s when it gets hard to see where we’re going. It hurts. It’s frightening when we  feel like we’re lost.

Chicago – 40 miles
That’s why God put other signposts along the way. They, of course, are not the actual destination; they simply point the way. They’re people. And they’re flawed, though they can still point to the right road. Usually the best ones are the people who aren’t trying to be what they are; they’re too tired and bruised and heartsick trying to get to the destination. Trying so hard to follow they’re not worried about trying to point. They show the way simply by going that way.
A neon sign with fluorescent lettering and flighing lights draws more attention to itself than it does to what it wants to say. But that’s the way our society thinks: make the sign more spectacular, and then they’ll see the directions.

Chicago – 20 miles
When I think of a parallel of a sign that points to God, I picture one of those little, rustic signposts that sits out on a country lane, rather weatherbeaten and slightly tilted. It has only one or two words on it, and sometimes it doesn’t even have the mileage. But the wery traveller who passes by is glad to see it.
I suppose that’s why it’s been some of the more quiet people on campus who have impressed me this semester. Shouts and raucus laughter fade quickly from memory, but the sounds of silence linger with a haunting stimulation in his room. Snow falling in the plaza, Third Coast and Coffee Chicago., That quiet quality, so subtle and yet so powerful, seems to be what really touches a man’s heart.

Chicago – 10 miles
So, Lord, Grant me the ability to clamber after you, and in so doing I learn to point. Thanks for those who’ve taught me so far. I’ll await the morning I’ll wake up and find that I don’t have to point any more. I’ll be

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