When I was a young boy in grade school, our family drove to Los Angeles to visit Disneyland. We were traveling south on the old 101 freeway. As we approached LA, my father shared a news report he just heard of a first-time visitor from Europe to the United States. The visitor did not speak or read English very well. The man rented a car and proceeded to enter the 101 and saw a road sign that designated the freeway as US 101. The man misinterpreted the sign as a speed sign and promptly accelerated to over 100 m.p.h. The CHP eventually pulled him over. After the officer realized what was happening, a warning was issued, and the man was sent on his way.
The visitor from Europe reminds me of many of us within the Church. Not all our interpretive abilities are trustworthy. We need to be careful about reading signs, especially the signs telling us how the future will unfold. We all interpret our spiritual reality through the lens of what we consider to be the absolutes of our insight. I can’t imagine John on the rocky isle of Patmos understanding all he was writing in the book of Revelation.
I have come to a place in my walk of faith where I have very few absolutes. My absolutes are about Jesus Christ, his character, and His love for us. The rest of it is open for debate. We all love absolutes because living within the limited understanding of those assumed absolutes, we find a sense of security. That is the problem. Our security is only solid when it is placed in God alone, not our interpretation of what we consider to be reality or how the future will unfold.
Today, as we press the accelerator of our faith and enter a new and unfamiliar section of the road taking us into the future, we need to be careful how we read the signs. Any assumption or entrenched position we bring to the experience will cause us to misinterpret reality, especially when it comes to interpreting the signs of the times and where that interpretation will take us.