Signposts: Daily Devotions

Thursday, June 19

Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going; how can we know the way?” Jesus said to him, “I am the way.”
—John 14:5

In Christ, the human dynamic of being creatures “on the way” encounters the deeper mystery, the sacred dynamic, of the One who is the Way: the God who is at once our goal, our motive power, and the road by which we travel.

This paradox seems baffling if we try to sort it out logically or theologically, but as C. S. Lewis points out in Mere Christianity, the living truth of it is quietly present whenever an ordinary person begins to pray. It is simultaneously God to whom we pray and God who prays within us “with sighs too deep for words” (Romans 8:26). We know ourselves to be at once far from God, and united with God in our truest selves. To experience this, even fleetingly or dimly, is to know first-hand the “already-not-yet” of our human condition.

Getting to know Christ will not itself resolve this paradox but (as I suspect Saint Thomas realized) the love of Christ enables us to experience being on the way, knowing the Way, as a mystery to be lived rather than a problem to be solved. Even when we do not know where we are and cannot see where we are going—as will often be the case—we can know ourselves to be held and guided by the Way himself.

As Thomas Merton prays (in Seven-Storey Mountain), “Oh! How far have I to go to find You in Whom I have already arrived?”

Loving, living God, we long to arrive in you; we know we have already arrived. Be our Way home, even as we are still far away.

The Signposts for June are written by Deborah Smith Douglas and originally appeared on in May 2005.