For a variety of reasons, this week was a rough week and I needed God to show up. Literally. I asked God, out loud, to send an angel, saint or squirrel holding a sign – whatever, so I could sense His presence, be affirmed of his reality and keep following Him, passionately.
The irony of my request is I don’t believe in signs. Signs are things people see when they want confirmation of what they want. I’m not saying God never gives us signs, but generally speaking, I’m a skeptic. But I also get tired. Tired of persevering, waiting, and tired of blogging about the same things over and over again. So sometimes, I ask for a sign. A sign I want, but know I won’t get.
One of the things that made this week tough was struggling yet again, with anxiety. Although God has freed me from the bondage of constant fear, I’m learning I still need freedom from many control and anxiety issues (I’m also learning those two things go hand-in-hand). My husband, not knowing the extent of my stressed-out week, was telling me about his Bible study and read Philippians 4 to me. Philippians 4:6-7 is my life verse. I have taught on Philippians 4:1-8 more than any Bible passage in ten years of speaking. I know Philippians 4, but thank God, I listened intently as Chris read it.
The next morning, I woke up anxious. Instead of God showing up and reminding me He is real, present and all I hope and try to believe He is, I woke up stressed out with a pit in my stomach. Fortunately, Philippians 4 was fresh in my mind, so I started praying it:
· “Whatever is true…” I thanked God nothing I was worrying about was a reality, but a “what-if.”
· “Whatever is lovely…” I thanked Him for the beautiful day, my family and my life.
· “…present your requests to God.” I asked God to help me quit thinking the worst-case scenario.
· “…with thanksgiving…” I thanked Him for my house, health and husband.
And before I was finished getting dressed, I got my sign.
The sign wasn’t delivered by flying monkey or Morgan Freeman. It wasn’t big or bold, but quiet and effective. The sign came when I prayed His promises into my pain. A sense of his love and peace tangibly manifested themselves when I slowed down long enough to hear His Word more loudly than the voices in my head.
Timothy Keller says, “Our prayers should arise out of immersion in the Scripture. [We] speak only to the degree we are spoken to. . . . The wedding of the Bible and prayer anchors your life down in the real God.” When I read, pray and apply God’s Word, I’m given more than a sign. I’m given peace, affirmation and passion in real life to real problems and I am reminded of the love of a very real God in a personal and intimate way.