Do you ever wish you could just have a sign from heaven? We want signs to tell us what to do or to give us assurance in our faith. Or do you wish, like me, you had a sign to show others who are close to you who don’t believe? Perhaps they believe in the supernatural, but not in a personal God, or Jesus, risen from the dead. There are numerous personal reasons for unbelief, yet I want to beg and plead and just “show” them. I think, “If they could only see and have proof, then they would believe.”
There are signs that point to another world, and I am thankful for these signs which often counsel me though my doubts and fears. I need everyday things to bolster my faith. With those close to me who don’t believe, I am confident if they too could read the signs they would believe. But I know it isn’t that easy, for “proof” is not always the answer. The scriptures say there is a veil that needs to be lifted.
One day, last summer we were in the Rocky Mountains hiking. Grand Lake, on the west side of Rocky Mountain National Park, is a favorite place for my family. Our time there has become a place for my family to connect, create memories, and rest (even though we are dead tired at the end of the day!). On this particular day there was a layer of early morning fog that veiled the mountains. There was, though, a beauty even in the fog. The layer of mist hovering over the meadows had an “other-worldness” to it. The elk were quietly and contently eating their breakfast. It was peaceful and inviting. It truly was beautiful. I knew the mountains were there somewhere, but I couldn’t see them with the silvery wall between us. The map showed that they were there. The coolness of temperature indicated that I was high in elevation. I knew for sure we were not in Texas because of the foliage and wildlife out my car window. But the towering mountains were veiled, no matter how hard I looked or stared. I had all the signs pointing to the fact that I was in the mountains, even though I couldn’t see them with my own eyes. The signs were there.
Reading the Signs
Signs guide us and tell us something. There are “signs” besides those marking streets and businesses. When the clouds are dark it is a sign it might rain. When my stomach grumbles it indicates I need food. When Walmart starts lining their aisles with small household items, crates, and laundry baskets, it means kids are soon heading off to college. We can read the signs and know something else is going on.
When there is a veil or we are unsure, we can look to the signs. There are signs that point to God, to the supernatural, and even to the resurrection. Finding signs encourages our own faith and makes it even more beautiful and solid. There are endless signs that point to our creator, but I just want to mention a few.
For Goodness Sake
Recently I read a book called, “The same kind of different as me.” In the book an unlikely pair, a homeless man and a wealthy art dealer, become friends. The friendship occurred because one lady loved and cared for those who were without love, a home or hope. She did not care why they were homeless or what was hidden in their past, but she saw them as individuals and people with value. But why should she value them? Why should anyone give another person dignity or care to someone who may be completely underserving? The only reason we typically give someone or something value is because it was placed there by someone else. My grandmother’s pearls (which are not even real pearls) are valuable to me because they were my grandmothers. From a humanistic point of view, the only things that should have value are those things that can survive and contribute in some way. Yet, those who believe in God and those who don’t believe in God both do good for others. The goodness we all do for another only points to God, whether we recognize it or not. For there is no reason to protect another’s dignity or give sacrificially, unless there is a God who has stamped His image on all of us and proclaimed “it is good.”
Hope is also supernatural. You say, “Anyone can have hope.” You are right, but it does not make sense for anyone to have hope in this world. Reading the news can be depressing and even, oppressive. Depression, anxiety and despair are a part of our world. There is a yearning in all of us to fix things– to have peace, to live longer, better lives– to have something more than we already have. There is a yearning and hope inside all of us for a better world. We know things are not as they “ought” to be. If this world as it is, is all there is, why should there be any hope? But real hope is looking up because there is something better out there. There is Someone that can turn things around. Hope points to the supernatural.
Creation Cries Out
The world is a fascinating place. Last week when I went to the zoo with two of my boys, I was reminded of this, and I intentionally became aware of the amazing details in all the variety of animals.
and thin stripes,
There were vivid colors or blue, red, gold, white and black.
As the boys stood in front of the large aquarium, I felt like I was entering another world– a world so different than what I know every day. As I sat, mesmerized by the sea world before me, I thought, “We humans love color, beauty, variety and majestic views. Why is there even a blue sky, green grass, colorful sunrises, shimmering stars, endless deep blue oceans, or rising mountains?” We love this stuff. As we interact with it, it stirs something in us. Then I thought about my boys– because I love them, I like to make them their favorite food or desserts as a surprise. I delight in their delight. Creation feels similar to me, as if Someone knows what I love and wants to see my delight. Creation points to a personal God who, not only created the world, but just like us, loves beauty, color, and variety in creation. Creation is a sign of the Creator.
The Reliable Resurrection
One day recently I said, “So much hinges on the resurrection. Because of the resurrection my life is different. It changes everything.” There are those who say the resurrection did not take place. Some write that it is a nice story or a metaphor for sacrifice and love. Books have been written about this and I just want to point out a few things that have been meaningful and things I shared as I pondered a recent conversation.
Jesus was Jewish. The Apostles and those Jesus appeared to after he rose from the dead, were also Jewish. As Jews they did believe in some sort of resurrection at the end of the age, when God restores all things. But the idea of the Messiah being killed and bodily rising from the dead right away was not what they would expect or understand. Jesus did speak of his resurrection before it took place, but this was new to them. They couldn’t grasp this, when Jesus predicted it or used the scriptures to point to this. It was not in their realm of thinking. They were ready for God’s kingdom to come by force, not through the death and resurrection of their Messiah. Because of this it would have been absurd for them to make the resurrection up.
A scared group of men became men who died for their faith. The church spread rapidly after Jesus was crucified. Only one thing can explain these two things and that is Jesus was resurrected. If Jesus rose from the dead, then everything changes. He then is who He claimed to be– the Son of God. He is the way the truth and the life. He is the One who forgives our debt and gives everlasting life. Much hinges on the resurrection. The resurrection morning is one of the greatest signs of the supernatural and of a personal God caring and coming into our ordinary world to give us life.
The Greatest Sign Remains
Even with all the signs, some still do not believe. A veil still remains. I think many people in their heart sense there must be something else behind the veil. They see the signs, but will they connect the dots? Lovingly we can share the signs with them. We can pray that they will get a glimpse of this other world. Each of these signs seem so personal and clear (to me). Pray about which may speak to your friend.
Let’s go back to my mountains. Let’s say, someone is sitting in the meadows, and enjoying the beauty, not even worrying about whether there are mountains or not. The haze is pretty. It is nice where they are. But sometime, storms will come through their valley. What sign will speak to them?
Let’s show them the greatest sign, and that is love. I think our love is the one sign that can’t be ignored. Love is the one thing that can melt any heart, open any mind, and dissolve any veil. Love is the greatest sign we have to give.
Overflow: allowing God’s ways to touch our lives and then our lives to pour out to others
Which one of these signs most bolsters your faith?
Who can you be praying for who needs a sign?
Think of a specific way to love them.