Excerpt from The 10-Second Rule by Clare DeGraaf
Part 1, Chapter 3
Waiting for a Sign?
There are biblical accounts of people testing the will of God using signs, however those were apparently rare even then, and they certainly aren’t the normal way God directs his people today. He most often spoke to them, as he does to us, through prayer, fasting, scripture, and counsel of godly men and women. Think about it; asking for a big dramatic sign before you move out in simple obedience doesn’t really require faith at all. It’s literally walking by sight—not by faith!
Nevertheless, we Christians still like the idea of signs, don’t we? Perhaps that’s because it puts the responsibility back on God before we have to act. And, it seems like we don’t need much in the way of signs from God to do what we want to do. A vague, almost unnoticeable twitch on the face of God will do the trick -, any sign will do. No, the way I’ve seen the “waiting for a sign” system used most often is for direction regarding something we would secretly prefer not doing.
Ken Davis, a Christian comedian, tells a humorous story of a Christian who gets on an empty city bus, walks to the rear, and sits down. “Lord,” he prays, “if you want me to speak to someone about you, please give me a sign.” At the next stop another passenger gets on, goes all the way to the back of the bus and sits right down next to the Christian. “Do you know anything about Jesus?” the passenger asks.
The Christian excuses himself for a moment and slowly bows his head once again and prays, “Lord, if you really want me to talk to this stranger, I need just one more sign. Please turn the bus driver into an armadillo.”
Have you been praying for armadillos—waiting for a sign from God you really hope never comes before getting serious about following him, or have you been playing it safe, taking your cues from your friends rather than Christ?
I’ve imagined this scene in my head: I’m playing baseball with Jesus. The stands are full of fans, but out there on the field it’s just him and me. I’m the pitcher. Jesus is the catcher, behind home plate. He settles into his crouch, ready to play, and I look for his signals—simple commands. What pitch will he want me to throw? I wait in anticipation, but also with one eye on the crowd—what will they think of me?
He signals a fastball.
I think for a moment and shake my head—no, not a fastball.
Next he signals a slider.
This time I look toward my teammates in the dugout for guidance. Then I glance up at the fans. No, I’m not comfortable with that one either.
He gives me yet a third signal.
No, not today, thank you!
Then I imagine Jesus silently and slowly withdrawing his signaling hand back into his mitt. There’s a deep disappointment in his eyes. He’s decided to let me throw whatever I want. So I do—and then I wonder why there’s just no team spirit anymore!
Has Jesus stopped giving you signals?
I doubt it. He never stops speaking to his children. Is there a signal God’s been trying to give you, even as you read this sentence, that you’ve ignored because you just don’t want to obey?
Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do
and doesn’t do it, sins.