It is interesting to note that people who pray fervently for a particular intention often ask for signs. It is also true that when we want to reach a particular destination, we are always looking out for signs along the road to ascertain somehow that we will get to where we set our minds to go. Of course, you may say that much depends too on how well we read the signs and how well we can follow them.
In all of us, there is the great desire to know the sure way to success. Where is the road to sure victory? I am sure if there were a manual spelling out like a recipe the sure way to success, everyone will have it on hand 24 hours.
No one wants to fail. Not too many people are hot about pain and suffering either. It is safe to say that every person walking the way of life could wish for nothing more but to have “road signs” all over the place clearly spelling out “What must I do with my life? How can I be sure that this new job will lead to success? Which of the opportunities open to me do I take advantage of?”
If there were a door that had a sign on it saying, “Failure”, “Palpak”, or “Sure Death”, maybe only the die-hard optimist who thinks he can turn any bad situation into a good one will dare enter. And into the door which carries the sign: “Sure Death” only the very daring, very stupid or suicidal will dare set foot.
But many times life is like that. We keep having to enter into situations that are like doors without signs. The only assurance we will ever have is that: we are children of God and no Father will let any harm come upon his children. We must believe this. Yet, life clearly shows us that living is so full of pain and we have been “harmed” many times by the many difficult moments in our lives.
There are the unreasonable bosses or teachers, the extremely strict parents, unjust social structures, abusive lawmen, selfish politicians and a whole long list of the perceived little devils in our lives. Yet if we truly believe in this loving Father, we know that all this harm can only be superficial or peripheral. It cannot get to our essence because we have faith and hope and love on our side. We have Jesus Christ-His very person and example.
In fact, using the world’s measuring stick, Jesus, is probably the picture of the worst failure there ever lived. Imagine, He did wonders, performed miracles, preached like no other teacher could and performed all kinds of signs and wonders for everyone to believe that indeed He was the Messiah. Yet what was the outcome? He had to suffer and die on the cross. His life ended in the manner of the worst criminal of that time.
If you look at Christ crucified, you will remember that as He was growing up as a simple carpenter’s son in Jerusalem He had no signs to tell Him, “You will lead a relatively quiet life, Son, doing this task or that, until you are thirty. After that, this is what will happen..” There was no such thing! There was no master game plan with all the steps neatly mapped out. Jesus just went on in faith, day by day. He was obedient daily. Daily too, God, the Father revealed Himself. Little did Jesus realize that after being hailed and sought after by many, He was later flogged, mocked and crucified. The final realization of the gravity of His suffering also came to Him slowly.
My heart goes out to Mary too. Imagine, when the Angel told her that she was to be the Mother of God, the Angel did not say, “Alright now, this is what is going to happen. first, people are going to think you are an adulteress, then. you will have no place to stay when you give birth, then in a few days after you give birth you must travel by donkey and on foot to Egypt for fear of your life and so in and so forth. The door she entered when she said “yes” God did not have any sign that said, “Danger” or “Enter at your own risk!” We might think that had she been forewarned maybe she could have been better prepared psychologically and otherwise. God does not work that way.
The roads He asks us to take do not have clear signs. He has no manual out for worldly success that does not entail pain. He has no guarantees or fair warnings. He only wants us to love Him with our whole heart, soul and strength and our neighbor as ourselves. He wants our unconditional “Yes” to follow Him faithfully no matter how long and winding, dark and unsure the road is.
All roads for Christians lead to the Crucifixion. All roads for Christians have one sure thing we have to carry: our cross. I am not speaking of a one-shot deal. I am speaking of a daily cross we must carry faithfully and well.
Sure it can get tough. Jesus showed us. But even at the Cross when He cried out, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” and He felt the world’s sins upon Him, He was obedient. Like Him, we too want to be a success. A success not by the world’s standards. God promises us victory, like that of His Son.
Jesus really was a victor. He won through the struggle of the cross and our sinfulness. If we cling to God even when things look dark and bleak, quite certainly, God will make the dawn break through. We too will be victorious.
We should refuse to believe that God has forgotten us even if every fiber of our being feels that God has left us lost, confused or forsaken. We will succeed and emerge victorious if, even when we feel beaten to the depths, we still hold on to God. Jesus did that and the only human visible sign over His head on the cross was that which mocked Him as King. The visible sign of His love was His sacrifice on the cross–His bruised and wounded body.
For believers, we see beyond these obvious signs. He is the Ultimate sign. He is the Sign of God’s Unfailing Love even and especially on the Cross. He is the sign of New life through His Resurrection. He is the sign that points to the true Way, the Truth and Life.
HOW TO SUCCEED
Jesus Our Light