Things to Come

For the best forecast ever, look at your new birth.

I can’t say exactly where it happened during my cross country trip out west—maybe southern Minnesota—when I first saw a sign that said, “Wall Drug, 300 miles.” I had no idea what a Wall Drug was, but from that point on, I regularly passed more signs announcing it—”Wall Drug loves kids,” “Stop in at Wall Drug,” etc.—until I was positively intrigued.  When I finally entered Wall, South Dakota, I found the most elaborate tourist destination I’d ever seen, a network of restaurants, shops, and yes, a drug store, sitting square in the middle of the badlands.

What had begun as a small sign hammered into the side of the road, had transformed our family trip into an almost mystical quest.  Signs do this.  They warn or create anticipation, stir curiosity, give hope.

The Bible often calls miraculous works of Jesus, “signs.”  When the blind saw, or paralytics walked, or the deaf heard, these events essentially announced that something had begun and was on the way, even if it was still at a great distance.  The external problems of leprosy, deafness, blindness, and paralysis were indications that something is wrong within us all.  But as Jesus began to heal these conditions visible to the naked eye, they were signs that through the Holy Spirit, He would also heal the internal, hidden brokenness of the soul.

With His arrival, a new time had dawned, portending a day of greater, fuller things to come:

Isa. 35:5Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
    and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
then shall the lame man leap like a deer,
    and the tongue of the mute sing for joy.
For waters break forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the desert;
the burning sand shall become a pool,
    and the thirsty ground springs of water;

You’ve already begun this trip, and seen some of the signs.

When you were born again, they started to show up—miraculous inward things that paralleled the external works Jesus performed upon those broken people in the gospels.  You were formerly blind to spiritual reality, but began to see the kingdom. You formerly couldn’t make sense of the Word, but now can hear it.  You were unable to follow Jesus, but now can walk in Spirit.

These signposts notify you of a glorious realm ahead.  You only need to continue.  The Wall Drug signs assured me if I continued on I-90 West, ignoring the exit ramps with all their interesting trip deviations and distractions, eventually I would arrive.

It’s the same with you.  At earlier points, your signage was unspectacular—small experiences of refreshment, light, and joy through Christ’s presence.  In a world obsessed with pomp and fanfare, they were nothing worthy of newspaper headlines. But the further you proceed, the more profound the signs become.

More, they promise.  There is still more.

And with each passing one, you progressively taste “the powers of the age to come” (Heb. 6:5).

 

Graphic credit:  Chandler O’Leary.  For more of her cool art, visit her website.

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