Because I travel so much, I see a lot of funny signs. I once saw a store with a large sign announcing “Store closing,” but posted just above the front doors was another sign that said, “Now hiring.” At one intersection, a stop sign was on the same post as another sign that read, “No stopping any time.” In a park there was a “No pets allowed” sign next to another that said, “All pets must be on leash.” I also liked this one: “Caution. Water on road during rain.” And then there was the “Lodging next right” sign posted just above “State Prison.” Perhaps my favorite sign is on a hospital in Japan near where my son used to live. It wouldn’t have been funny to the Japanese, but it gave English speakers a good laugh. The name of the hospital was two Japanese characters: Ai dai (pronounced “I die”). I don’t think I want to be admitted to that hospital.
Once while I was driving I saw a sign that read, “Right lane must turn right.” At first that seemed like a no-brainer, but the more I thought about it, the more the sign took on a personal meaning. As a follower of Christ, my direction is clear. When I am in the right lane, I must turn right. There really is no other choice, no going back.
Tito Momen was a Muslim who converted to Christianity. He was born in Nigeria and raised to be a leader among clerics. When he encountered Christianity and became a believer, his fiancée rejected him. His father disowned him. His family held a public funeral for him, and his mother, who felt responsible for his conversion, committed suicide. Later, on trumped-up charges, he was imprisoned in Egypt, where he faced horrific abuse because of his faith. For fifteen years he languished in the most dismal circumstances imaginable. Not only was he persecuted mercilessly, but his health failed him. There were moments of despair in which he would think that if he had never become Christian, his life would have been so different. He knew if he were willing to forsake his faith, his circumstances would be better. Still, something deep inside him assured him he had made the right choice. Denying it would be turning his back on the only thing that really mattered. Many small miracles finally led to his release and receipt of clemency in Ghana (see Tito Momen and Jeff Benedict, My Name Used to Be Muhammad).
Tito’s faith is like that of Peter and the other Apostles, who were asked by the Savior, “Will ye also go away?” (John 6:67).
“Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that thou art that Christ, the Son of the living God” (John 7:68–69). Peter and the Apostles were in the right lane. There was no other option but to follow wherever it led. Tito Momen had made the same commitment.
Mike McKinley wrote that in the past “true Christians endured persecution for the sake of Christ. They were publicly humiliated and financially ruined, but they clung tightly to Jesus and did not turn back. Like all believers throughout time, they had experienced the new birth and pledged their fealty to Jesus. No amount of trouble could pry them loose. Conversely, those who profess faith in Christ but then abandon him when trials hit were probably never genuinely Christians in the first place” (Am I Really a Christian? 83–84).
Life in the right lane requires right turns. For our safety and the safety of those we love and lead, let’s follow the sign—follow the Lord.