…about signs from God. You may have heard the story about the woman who was doing last minute Christmas shopping a few years ago in a downpour. She circled the shopping center in desperation, as she had forgotten her umbrella and was not wearing water-resistant shoes, hoping for a parking space close enough to keep her from getting drenched to the bone. And as she went down one lane and up the other, she found herself praying, “Lord, if you give me a parking space close to this store, I will step up at church. I will give ten percent of my income, I will accept the offer to be a youth sponsor, I will attend mid-week Bible study. Please don’t forget me, please don’t forsake me, I am yours one hundred percent.” As she drove near the store, an SUV pulled out of a spot right next to the entrance.
“Never mind, Lord,” she said. “I found one on my own. Thanks anyway.”
Signs from God are all over Scripture. Israel was led by a pillar of cloud by day and fire by night as they traversed the wilderness out of Egypt. Moses had the leprous hand and the snake staff to work with. Angels appear, prophets emerge, and, of course, Jesus. Just all of his ministry—one gigantic sign from God, right? And yet, most folks–when confronted with the action of God, when God deigns God’s obvious presence necessary to continue the walk through history and relationship with humanity—just don’t notice. Or won’t notice. Or refuse to notice. Or can’t notice.
Amber’s excellent sermon from Sunday got me thinking about that, and how I react to God’s work in my life, and how we react to God’s work in the life of this congregation, and how folks I know react to God’s work in their lives. My favorite reaction to the very clear and present action of God is Gideon’s, who not only asks repeatedly (more or less) “Are you sure?” but then keeps asking for signs and reassurances that what God wants is actually what God wants. Gideon’s character arc transforms him from a nobody who seeks everything from God to a somebody who, sadly, embraces nothing about God. It’s in the book of Judges, chapters six through eight—you could read it for this Sunday, if you wanted to, and be just a little more steeped in our scripture (and then some!) as we gather together for worship.
God is working all around us, and in us, and through us, and for us. What ways have you seen God active, present and calling you forward in your life? I hope to see you Sunday, sooner than later.