I do not ask God for signs.
Once several years ago, when I was particularly discouraged and grieved about a broken relationship, I did ask God for a sign. I had a little garden plot out behind our church (Thank you, Mr. Mike!), a few miles from home. Emotionally and physically exhausted, I drove over one afternoon to work in the beans, tears streaming down my face. "God," I prayed, "I am so broken, so discouraged. I am emotionally destitute. I need some affirmation that you love me, that you know I'm hurting and you care." I turned off Highway 51, praying that the quiet time working among the rows of beans would be a time of intimate fellowship with God, of prayer and healing...praying He would give me some irrefutable sign of His love.
Instead of a warm embrace, God met me with a sledge hammer. I parked the car and stepped toward the garden in disbelief. All my precious pole beans, row after row, were on the ground in a tangled, matted mess. Their supporting canes had collapsed, no doubt due to inclement weather the day before. Stunned, I had no tears left to cry. There was nothing left for me to do but start pulling up vines. My garden was ruined.
Did God give me the sign I coveted that day? No. Did He love me? Yes, but I have to admit I thrashed and flailed against this unearthly love that met my grief with even more disappointment.
That wasn't the only time that, broken and exhausted, I asked God for a sign. But most of my pleas were answered in much the same way. So I quit asking for signs. I'm not strong enough for God's signs.
Monday was a low day for me. Not a cataclysmic emotional crisis, but weariness with difficult circumstances and ongoing trials. Kinda like having an infected tooth...nothing utterly disabling, but a constant drain on the body and a nagging pain that occasionally flares to drown out everything else. Monday, I didn't ask God for a sign of His faithfulness and love toward me. God knew the dark valley I was in, and I knew He could meet me there in whatever way He wanted, sledge hammer or embrace.
And here is how God met me....
Editing J.K.'s article for this week's Soli Deo Gloria newspaper column, I read a quote by B. B. Warfield. Warfield was writing about Romans 8:28 - "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are called according to his purpose." This great theologian endured tremendous trials and difficulties in his own life, yet he wrote: The fundamental thought is the universal governance of God. All that comes to you is under His controlling hand. The secondary thought is the favor of God to those that love Him...He will so govern all things that we shall reap only good from all that befalls us.
This article - with this quote - was in queue for the column over a month ago. Yet it was Monday morning that God had me read again of the trials of B. B. Warfield and read this comforting reassurance from Scripture.
And God met me like this....
Monday afternoon, the kids and I raced outside to experience a weird weather phenomenon. Dark storm clouds had blown up from the west and stopped, like Eeyore's nimbus, just over our house. It was raining in the front yard, dry in the back, with a clear line of demarcation straight down the center of the house. Of course, we all had to leave the porch to run into the rain, out of the rain, into the rain, out of the rain. Crazy, silly fun! And we all saw the rainbow...
A triple rainbow. Two together, one tucked right inside the other, back-to-back, stretched like extra-wide ribbon across the sky, and another higher up, separated from the others by a band of blue sky. Have you ever noticed how when you see a rainbow, all you can do is stand and look? You know it won't last long, and the magic freezes you in your spot. Ever notice, too, how your eye automatically follows that great arc to the horizon? How you always think, "I wonder where it ends? What does it look like, at the end of the rainbow?"
Well, Monday's triple rainbow ended in our field, between the house and the eastern tree line. The trees and the waist-high grass were bathed in red and yellow and blue. There was no way we could have run fast enough to reach that beam of shimmering, multi-colored light before it began to fade. But it was enough just to have seen it - to have seen the end of the rainbow, reaching down to dance in the hay.
Monday was a low day for me. Some days are just like that. Next time God points His jeweled finger at me, I will run faster toward the light. I will dance with the grass in His rainbow.
When I bring clouds over the earth and the bow is seen in the clouds, I will remember my covenant that is between me and you... Genesis 9:14-15a
1 month ago