Houstonians who work downtown enjoy an underground tunnel system, filled with restaurants and shops, providing air-conditioned escape from the weather and other inconveniences of sidewalk travel. Two encounters there on recent days have reminded me of the practicality and power of the biblical metaphors for our condition apart from God.
Last Tuesday I was crossing town underground when I came upon a young Chinese man with a pack on his back and a puzzled look on his face. I stopped, and eventually understood that he was looking for the Greyhound bus station. “Follow me,” I said, as we meandered through the labyrinth to Main Street, which he needed to locate. Along the way I discovered that he was a visiting scholar of mathematics at Harvard University, embarked on a sightseeing tour of America. He was a brilliant Ph.D., but in the Houston tunnels he was as lost as a Christmas goose.
On Thursday the same week, I was returning to work after lunch in the tunnels. At a particular juncture, where construction was underway, stood a blind man, tapping with his cane. “This is a mess,” I said quietly. “May I assist you?” We chatted briefly as I talked him past a low overhang, around a confusing corner and into another corridor that took him where he wanted to go. Although gifted and confident, he was clearly disadvantaged by his sightlessness.
How like us apart from God, I thought. We are surely both lost and blind – – regardless of educational achievements or degrees of self-confidence. Without God, we have no clue concerning our spiritual whereabouts, no idea how to find the path to life or to avoid the trail to destruction. Without God, we are oblivious to the hazards that line our path every step we take. Jesus shows us the road to eternal life, and he gives us sight to enjoy the journey. He is the Light of the World. He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.