Signposts on Life's Way
The first step to finding your way home is admitting you're lost.
A couple of months ago, my wife and I were travelling by car to an appointment in another city. I didn't want to be late, so I took strong measures to ensure we did not go astray. Although Ontario is a province that we have known all our lives, I took no chances. I gave my wife three road maps.
At first our trip went along smoothly, but gradually I realized that familiar signs along the way were not appearing. I stopped at a gas station to ask a courteous young attendant for directions. The journey continued, but alas the mental fog deepened and, once again, I had the sneaking suspicion that we were lost.
Finally, not greatly amused with our predicament, I pulled over to the side of the road. "I find this hard to admit, but I think we are lost," I remarked to my wife. "And I think it's all your fault! One would think that, with three maps, you might be able to keep us on the right road home." My voice lacked any quality of compassion, as I regretfully remember.
"So you think it's my fault? Well I think it's yours!" she retorted, her face flushed with anger. "If you do not know how to drive this car, please move over and let someone with intelligence take the wheel."
"Maybe the young man in the service station who gave us directions led us astray. It's his fault," I conceded. That brought a little calm to our company.
I remember the moment with sadness. Being lost is no picnic. In fact, it is pure misery. The darkness indeed was deep.
Just when I thought all was lost, I looked up and saw a small sign in the distance with three life-saving words: "To highway 401." I shouted with joy, "Now I know where we are!"
We drove home without saying a word to each other. I was ashamed of my uncontrolled temper and, when we got home, I said to my wife: "I'm sorry I yelled at you. It doesn't matter whose fault it was that we were lost. It's just good to be home."
To be lost in a physical sense is one thing, but to be lost in a spiritual sense is much more serious. The Bible says: "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23). As a result, we are alienated from God and under the severe sentence of divine judgment, "without hope and without God in the world" (Ephesians 2:12).
Fortunately, Jesus came to earth to be the perfect sacrifice for our sins, so that no one needs to perish. "But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away [from God] have been brought near through the blood of Christ" (Ephesians 2:13). This is the Good News of the Gospel—news that is for everyone regardless of nationality, social standing or religious upbringing. No wonder Paul shouted from the housetop: "I am not ashamed of the Gospel, because it is the power of God for the salvation of everyone who believes" (Romans 1:16).
In the Gospel of Like, Jesus tells the story of the prodigal son who wastes his inheritance through rebellious living. Finally, the young man "comes to his senses," admits he is lost and repents of his sinful ways. When he returns home, his father embraces him and celebrates because his son "'was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found'" (see Luke 15:11-32).
It's like that with God. When we ask His forgiveness, God embraces us and welcomes us home. We are "no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household" (Ephesians 2:19).
Jesus is like the sign leading to the highway. He says to everyone who is lost: I am the way to life and eternal happiness. If you are lost or feel like your life has no hope, don't blame others or your circumstances. Instead, look up and believe in Jesus. "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight" (Proverbs 3:6).
Originally published in Faith and Friends, March 2003.
Used with permission. Copyright © 2005 Christianity.ca.