I stood in the deepening dark of the night. The moon was nowhere to be seen. A thousand stars – maybe more, blinked in chaotic poetry.
I had to absorb the news of the day – of a lifetime. Swirling in my head, there were no answers. Just questions. That awful question. Why?
I needed clear guidance, and not finely parsed words. I didn’t want nuance or philosophy. I wasn’t interested in theology. I’ve sat through a thousand sermons and know what the thick Book teaches. I have heard the sage advice of the elders. The counselor’s word seemed sound but still were hollow. The words of authors bounced like pennies on the pavement.
All of that was good. But really, at that moment, I just needed a sign.
A burning bush would have been brilliant. A spaceship with a laser beam would have been spectacular. A distant rumble. I would have even settled for a shooting star. God, just give me a sign.
I sat on the dusty ground. There are tears. Not the manly kind that glisten in the eye but the kind that cannot be brushed away without being replaced by another, and then another, coming from reservoirs rarely tapped.
Am I alone here? Have you ever asked for a sign?
A Short Cut to Faith
The Jews came to Jesus. They wanted a sign too. They referenced the manna that fell from the heavens, that fed the wandering Israelites. They wanted something like that, a little bread, a little miracle.
He said that an “evil generation” seeks a sign. Those were harsh words, but he wasn’t a magician and wasn’t going to be played that way.
He could have done it. But it would have just been one more sign in a long line of signs. Still, they had no intention of believing. “You have seen me and still you do not believe,” he said.
He was right. There were healings and resurrections and multiplying loaves and fishes. There were no shortages of signs, but they wanted just one more.
I think I want a sign because I need a substitute for faith. I need some sort of miracle to take care of that trust that often feels so tenuous.
It’s human nature to want a sign. We need something, anything, to help bridge the gaps of doubt in our minds.
And I think he understands that. Sometimes he will give a sign – some of you have had those happen. But usually, he will push back. “Dig in, son. Believe. Trust. It’s going to be okay.”
The sign never came, and yet I eventually found the answers through strife and turmoil, prayer and supplication, doubt and fear. I didn’t need the sign after all.
I’m Just Being Honest
And today, the questions are different, and yet the same. My heart still hurts for family members who wander. And what can I say about the friends who have turned away, their fingers still pointing at the gaping hole in my facade?
My soul aches for the uncertain future my children must face. The evil in the world is running rampant, and I just don’t have the answers. We seem to be tearing ourselves in two.
I know it’s a sign a weakness. But I must admit, that there are times when I lift my head and cry out.
Give me a sign.