Monday, January 9, 2017

A Sign from God

The most fervent prayers that most of us pray is for a sign from God - some sign, some indicator that God is still God, that God is still good, and that things are going to be okay. And we know that God does provide signs because His Word is full of them. 

This will be a sign to you.... This sign will be.... I am giving you this sign....

But here's the thing about signs in the Bible: they always come after faithfulness, not before. They always come after the trials, not before. The rainbow always comes after the storm, not before. So for all of us who are waiting on some sign, waiting on God to show that He is still God, that He is still good, that things are going to be okay, we have to understand that we can never know this in the way that we want to until we take a faithful step in a God-ward direction. 

That's frustrating for a lot of us; I know it's frustrating for me. It's frustrating because if I'm going to climb a mountain, I want to know there is going to be a ram somewhere in those bushes. It's frustrating because if I'm going to build a boat, I want to know that there will be a safe harbor somewhere. It's frustrating because I want to know that if I'm going to have a child, He will truly be anointed. It's frustrating because it requires me to live in all of the questions I can never answer, knowing only one thing: hope. 

And this hope must somehow call me to faith.

Our theology gets kind of messy around here, this place where hope and faith intersect. Hope is the reason for our faith - if we did not believe in something bigger, we would have no reason to act in faith. But without a faith that acts, the truth is that we have no hope at all. 

So we pray. We pray for a sign, for some indicator that whatever we're about to do or whatever we've been asked to do is truly from God, that God is going to bless it somehow, that He will be with us, that His Word is good. But our prayer, as diligent as it is, is not faith; it is not motion. Only when we are willing to step out - to climb the mountain, to build the boat, to bear the child - will we see what God has called us to see.

That God is still God, that God is still good, that things are going to be okay because there is a ram in the bushes, a rainbow in the sky, and a babe in a manger, and they all point us back to the God who called us here in the first place, to the God who calls us to the mountain, the boat, and the manger. 

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