Do you see the signs God gives you?
Did you ever hear about the guy who cried out to God, “Please God, just show me a sign!” just before tripping over a yard sale sign. After grumbling about people putting their garbage in his way, he goes on shouting, “If you would just show me a sign, I would-” and falls over an A-frame sign on the sidewalk and curses it. After getting up and dusting himself off without missing a beat, he then goes on, “All I’m asking for is one teensy weensy little sign!”, then BAB-he runs into a stop sign so hard it knocks him out?
It reminds me of a scene in a popular movie called ‘Bruce Almighty’ when he asks for a sign, ignores all of the signs given to him, then ends up on the side of the road in the rain.
Do you ever feel like if God would just send you a sign, you would know what to do? If he’d just show you some proof that he does exist, you’d drop everything and start your own ministry, right? The problem is, he does give us signs every day, yet we refuse to see them even though they are plain as the nose on our faces. Do you really think you got where you are today without the grace of God?
I’m reminded of a story about a woman who had MS, a horrible disease that takes control of your body and doesn’t let go. Diligently, she prayed every day that God would free her from this disease and save her the suffering it was going to bring her. Time went on, and she’d notice little things at first like dropping objects and twitching. Then she lost control of her left hand completely, and her leg wasn’t far behind. She knew that she’d be in a nursing facility before the end of the next year, but she prayed anyway.
One morning, she fell and it caused an awful pain in her back, but she pulled herself up without realizing that she’d used her left hand to grasp the counter. Shocked, she went straight in to see her doctor and went through a battery of tests. There was no MS. Turns out, there was no proof of what had happened. The doctors said it was probably some pressure in some of the areas of her back that they didn’t see before and it was cutting off some very important pathways...whatever that means. Her spine had some fractures that would take time to heal, but the pressure was released and she was given back her body.
Instead of realizing that it was a miracle from God, she grabbed hold of the scientific explanation even though it was completely vague and didn’t make much sense, and held tight to it without even a second thought about all the nights she promised Him that if He’d just fix her, she’d spend every day for the rest of her life spreading His word.
She may have had her body back, but her life was never easy. There was always some sort of awful calamity that kept occurring. There was never enough money, everything was always breaking down, and she couldn’t seem to keep a job. She was so stressed and out of control that she turned to drinking, which magnified the situation.
In the end, she did end up in a nursing home where I cared for her for a long time. She had no family that visited, no children to carry on her legacy, and no friends to speak of. When she found herself alone and dying of liver failure, she realized the gift she had squandered. She didn’t see the signs that God was answering her prayers. She didn’t listen to Him telling her that she wasn’t doing His will when he sent her signs like broken cars, failed jobs, and eviction notices.
She spent the last few moths of her life asking anyone who entered their room if they’d heard the good news. If the answer was no, she would tell them that Jesus loved her, and that Jesus loved them too. Tears welled up in her eyes as she explained that all Jesus wanted was for us to love him back and to seek God through him.
I was in the room with her as she took her last breaths, and the last words out of her mouth were, “Have you heard?”
“Heard what?” I asked back, placing a fresh cool wash cloth on her head, already aware of what the answer was.
“That Jesus loves you, and he’s waiting for you to hear his word. Don’t ignore the signs.”
And that was it. No, it wasn’t dramatic. It wasn’t like she said those words to me clutching my hand and taking her last dying breath before going limp in my arms. She closed her eyes and held my hand. I spent the next hour swabbing her mouth and listening to her lungs fill with liquid as almost always happens in the final hours of life. My patients often said things like this to me, but I didn’t really listen to them like I listened to the woman who clearly regretted spending so much time ignoring God.
You see, I spent a lot of time in that room with this particular lady because the usual onslaught of family never came. She was alone all the time, too sick to eat, too sick to drink, and too sick to care whether or not she made it to the bathroom. One thing she was never too sick for was to tell anyone who came in contact with her the good news and that she didn’t tell anyone when God gave her a miracle. It was her deepest regret that she never was a good listener when it came to Him.
“I’d listen to some poor schmuck tell me his life story over cheap beer for hours on end than to the one who created me and gave me life.” She would say in the raspy voice of a woman who had spent many nights in a smoke filled bar.
Am I a good listener? I try to be. I know I’m not always as good as I should be. I often get brained with signs, then get mad at them for hitting me in the head without realizing that they are placed in my way directly by God, but because of the woman who had MS and then didn’t, I recognize them faster than I did before, and even follow a few of them before they become hazardous obstacles in my path.
Are you listening to God, or is your life filled with one calamity after another? Is your life filled with chaos and pain because you aren’t hearing what God is trying to say? Take some time to look at your life and listen.