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Friday, 29 June 2012

Seeking Signs


When we are looking for God’s direction in our lives, we sometimes attach significance to “signs.” 
   We may recall the story of Gideon in Judges chapter 6, where Gideon asks for a sign that God is with him by laying down a wool fleece.  The next morning, if the ground was dry but the fleece was saturated with dew, then Gideon would be sure that God was sending him.  One problem happened, though.  Gideon was not sure if it was really God or just a random event.  Thus he asked for a second sign: a dew covered ground and a dry fleece.
   When we read a Bible story like this we often think of the actions of the characters as being the guide for us, either what to do or what not to do.  Since Gideon found God’s guidance through this method, we think to ourselves that asking for signs is biblical.  However, if we look at Bible accounts from the point of view of what we can learn about God’s part in the story we will see a different lesson coming out of Gideon’s experience.  That is, God stoops to our weakness.  That is reassuring.
   When I was 17 years old and on a summer mission trip I remember asking God for a sign to show he wanted me to become a teacher.  Like Gideon, the sign I asked for was completely unrelated to the issue at hand, and I see now was quite inappropriate!  I had heard from several people in this Michigan community that the pastor used to have a stuttering problem.  The sign I asked for was to hear this pastor stutter.  Then I would know God wanted me to become a teacher.  Well, much to the embarrassment of this pastor, the very next day when he was leading us in a Bible study he began suddenly to falter in his speech.  I never had the courage to tell him my part in this.
   I’ve since discovered that God’s guidance often comes through circumstances rather than signs: an open door, a closed door, a Scripture passage that comes to mind, the advice of a strong Christian friend, or things falling into place after a time of uncertainty.

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