Week of September 14, 2007

The Only One and Only
by Max Lucado

Two of our three daughters were born in the South Zone of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. We lived in the North Zone, separated from our doctor’s office and hospital by a tunnel-pierced mountain range. During Denalyn’s many months of pregnancy, we made the drive often.

We didn’t complain. Signs of life do a samba on every street corner. Copacabana and her bathers. Ipanema and her coffee bars. Gavea and her glamour. We never begrudged the South Zone forays. But they sure did bewilder me. I kept getting lost. I’m directionally challenged anyway, prone to take a wrong turn between the bedroom and the bathroom. Complicate my disorientation with randomly mapped three-hundred-year-old streets, and I don’t stand a chance.

I had one salvation. Jesus. Literally, Jesus. The Christ the Redeemer statue. The figure stands guard over the city, one hundred twenty-five feet tall with an arm span of nearly a hundred feet. More than a thousand tons of reinforced steel. The head alone measures ten feet from chin to scalp. Perched a mile and a half above sea level on Corcovado Mountain, the elevated Jesus is always visible. Especially to those who are looking for it. Since I was often lost, I was often looking. As a sailor seeks land, I searched for the statue, peering between the phone lines and rooftops for the familiar face. Find him and find my bearings.

John 3:16offers you an identical promise. The verse elevates Christ to thin-air loftiness, crowning him with the most regal of titles: “One and Only Son.”

Do what I did in Rio. Seek him out. Lift up your eyes, and set your sights on Jesus. No passing glances or occasional glimpses. Enroll in his school. Make him your polestar, your point of reference. Search the crowded streets and shadow-casting roofs until you spot his face, and then set your sights on him.

You’ll find more than a hospital.

You’ll find the Only One and Only.

From 3:16, The Numbers of Hope
Copyright (W Publishing Group, 2007) Max Lucado