“Teacher, we wish to see a sign from you” (Matt 12:38).
We have the adage: "He who hesitates is lost." As anyone riding a bicycle knows, once we are in motion, only going forward keeps us upright. More profoundly, when the Buddha says, "Leap and the bridge will appear," he means that if we leap but doubt, the bridge will not be there.
Every decision has its dark interval, the moment between the thought and the action. If we hesitate, we fail, and for the timid of heart, this is interpreted as a sign they should not have risked the decision in the first place. They will never know if had they followed through they might have succeeded.
In Exodus 14, the Hebrews are paralyzed with fear when they see the Egyptian army pursuing them. They cry out to God and to Moses, "Why did you bring us into this desert to perish?" Moses tells them to stop complaining and to move forward.
In Matthew 12, the scribes and Pharisees understand clearly that true conversion will cost them everything, so they hedge their bets and demand a sign from Jesus. The only sign they get is the sign of Jonah. When given the chance to go forward, others leaped and were saved. He who hesitates is lost.
What graces will be given us today--those moments of insight that invite us to seize an opportunity to do good, dash through a doorway of grace when it opens before us? Whether our decisions are about taking the next step or leaping into the unknown, to grow in love is always about going forward.
The sign of Jonah was confirmed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. In every instant that we can die to ourselves for others, we will rise with Christ. God is in the moment, but always moving forward to the next moment. Don't be afraid. Go with God, give yourself to the grace that will open the path before you like a lamp at your feet.