Do you remember that first drive alone after getting your driver’s license? The freedom to go anywhere. Instead of asking for a ride or checking the bus schedule, you could just crank down those windows and hit the open road cranking your music at your volume. It was everything your teenage self dreamed of finally come true.
I was 16. This was before TikTok, Instagram, and even Facebook. It was the day of AOL and IM. Before everyone had a computer in their pocket. It was the day of CDs, $1.25 a gallon gasoline, and cellphones were only as common as pagers for teenagers. And in a single parent household, there was no way I was getting a cellphone.
I had a dark blue Ford tempo that shook when you hit 65 mph, but all I could see was freedom on those four worn out tires. I hopped in for my first drive with my license still warm from being printed earlier in the day.
My heart was pumping and I couldn’t help smiling when I drove around the first corner. I was on my own. Where should I go for the first drive? Downtown! So I made my way to the highway and felt the Ford Tempo shaking to Metallica like it was in a mosh pit.
Then it happened. I realized I had no idea how to get downtown. Some of you may remember that a GPS was for people with money, and I had none. So I found myself taking what I came to find out was the wrong exit and got utterly lost amidst what felt like a maze of off ramps and on ramps.
Simultaneously, people lovingly honked encouraging beeps at me and pointed my gaze to the heavens with their longest finger to remind me where to find my hope. Who knew drivers were so kind to us beginners?
I finally pulled over and took a breath. I wasn’t sure where to go next until I saw one sign I recognized: Main Street. I remembered someone at some point telling me that Main Street always ran north/south. So if I could get to Main Street then I could get to a street I recognized and just take that home. But even that was more confusing than I anticipated. What I thought was an exit to Main Street was an exit that eventually would turn into Main Street.
After a series of twists and turns, I finally made it to…Main Street! Then I had to get to a road I recognized. Then home.
Needless to say, I never made it to downtown that day, but because I could read the signs around me, I did, thirty minutes later, make it home.
Where are you headed?
There are plenty of times in life when we feel like our inexperienced teenage selves behind the wheel of life. As someone wise once said, “We’re rookies our whole lives.” Where do you feel that today? Or maybe a better question, where do you NOT feel that way?
The longer we’re in the driver seat, the more we ask, “Where am I headed again?” We wonder what we’re looking for in life in the first place. In the midst of the everyday, we can wrestle with where we feel most alive. We all want to know we’re on our way to something real, genuinely good, and beautiful. But do you know where you’re going and how you’re going to get there? How do you know that where you hope to go is where you’ll end up or even for that matter, where you want to end up?
We live in a world with more access to more guiding resources than ever before. This truly is the information age. In the words of Ecclesiastes, “Of making many books there is no end….” (Ecclesiastes 12:12). To be clear, there is a lot of great advice and coaching available, and I’ve personally sought out as much as possible.
Signs of Life
But with so many options pointing in a myriad of directions, what’s astounding is how far Jesus goes to give us clear signs of life.
The Gospel writer John, who knew Jesus personally, often calls these pockets of Jesus’ surprising, life-giving work “signs.” Throughout the retelling of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection, all of it is pointing us to the life Jesus has in Himself (John 5:26) and how that same life He has is made available to us (John 3:16) now and forever.
We don’t have to spend our lives driving in circles or anxiously switching lanes. Rather, we can follow the signs of life that point to Jesus and so find life in/through/by Him.
So no matter where you find yourself, we hope you join us as we continue walking through John’s brilliant eyewitness testimony of the life He found in Jesus.
If you’re traveling, stay connected with us online. If you’re here, join us in person, and if you want to go deeper in studying this life found only in Jesus, join us at theFormed.life for 15 minutes every day. For we know it’s not just about the destination but also about who we are becoming on the journey.
Where are you headed? You don’t have to go it alone. Join us on the journey to life and life abundant…now.
So good, Gabe. Great connector from the Ecclesiastes series to John. I can totally relate to the myriad of resources that leave me feeling so overwhelmed and actually burdened and appreciate the hope and true answers I can now find in Jesus. Thanks for setting that up so clearly!
Thanks, Cate! Glad to serve!
Thank you for this, Gabe. I am loving the form.life this week and it did make me think what a beautiful connection from Ecclesiastes to John there is. Instead of chasing after smoke we can find true life. Now you’ve given me another metaphor to help in thinking about how to live. Jesus’ signs do point us home. So good to know we are not alone.
Amen! So grateful we are not alone!