Published July 28, 2015

Paul's Epistle
"Crossing Signs"

The other evening Shelia played for me a recorded phone call she had found from some radio call-in show that had been posted online.

The caller was quite upset. Multiple times in recent years, this caller had, while driving, struck a deer which was crossing the road ahead of her. But that's not what upset her. What really incensed her was that the one thing all of these incidents had in common was that she had just passed a "deer crossing" sign that had been posted along the road by the highway department.

"Why," she indignantly demanded to know, couldn't the state move those "deer crossing" signs to some other place where it would be safer for the deer to cross and easier for motorists to avoid hitting them?

Yes, throughout the prolonged phone call, she was apparently dead serious.

She believed, apparently, that the deer looked for these "deer crossing" signs and somehow knew that these were places they were to cross the road, just as "school crossing" signs indicate places for school children to cross the street. The caller didn't understand that those signs – in both cases – were warnings for motorists to be extra careful. She misunderstood – and therefore ignored – their purpose.

Such foolishness. It's easy to say, "What in the world could she possibly have been thinking? Who in their right mind would so completely misunderstand something like this?"

But wait... Do we ever misinterpret warning signs that are posted for our benefit? Do we ignore them because, "They're for someone else, not me?" Or, "They're for some other time or place, not now or here." Do we criticize those giving the warnings while neglecting to heed them?

Scripture is full of warnings from God about what He considers proper or improper behavior. The Ten Commandments come to mind. The Beatitudes are examples for living. But we know these instructions were given for our benefit. They're right there in the "Owner's Manual," the Bible. As 2 Timothy 3:16 tells us, "All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness..."

Nevertheless, so many in society today ignore the warnings and go ahead and do what they've been told explicitly by God not to do. And then, when things go wrong because of what they did, they blame God. They criticize God for allowing such things to happen, even though they disobeyed His instructions and, indeed, His warnings, in the first place. "It's God's fault! It couldn't be my fault! It's just not fair!" Some even outwardly deny God, but then blame Him anyway. "If there's a God, why did He let this happen to me?"

Such a person ignored the "warning signs" God posted for us in His Word. Or they simply thought it certainly didn't apply to them.

Please, don't ignore the warning signs God has given us. Obey them so that, when the time comes for that most important sign — the sign of the Son of Man in the heavens (Matt. 24:30) — you will already be enjoying the ultimate "safe crossing."

- Paul

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