"Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights."
- Isaiah 7:11 NIV
My husband has a long-time friend who has struggled with his faith for years. Recently, this man's faith got a major boost when his grandson was hospitalized because of a sudden and serious affliction. As he left his house to head for the emergency room, he spotted a neighbor walking along the road at a distance. This neighbor had taken walks around the neighborhood every day for many years, and in all that time, she never so much as glanced at my husband's friend whenever he drove by. Desperate to hear from God that his grandchild would recover, this man prayed, "Lord, give me a sign that my grandson is going to be all right." Seconds later, the lady stopped in her tracks, looked at my husband's friend, and gave him a huge wave. Tears sprang to this man's eyes as he recognized the sign from heaven that he had so desperately needed. And he is telling everyone who will listen about the kindness and goodness of God.
Many Christians are afraid to ask God for signs because of Jesus' words in the Gospels, ďAn evil and adulterous generation seeks after a sign." (Matthew 12:39 NKJV) But we have to keep in mind that when the Master spoke these words, He was mainly addressing the religious people of His day who were not sincere God-seekers, and who would never believe in the Savior, no matter what He did. Throughout the pages of the Bible, we see that not only did many of God's people ask for signs, but in many cases, the Lord actually offered them signs, when He knew that it would strengthen their faith in Him. Scripture tells us that God called King David "a man after My own heart." (Acts 13:22) Yet in the Book of Psalms, we discover that David prayed: "Give me a sign of Your goodness, that my enemies may see it and be put to shame, for You, O Lord, have helped me and comforted me." (Psalm 86:17 NIV) David was in effect asking God to give him a sign of His approval, some reassurance that the Lord was standing with him against his adversaries. The prophet Isaiah records an occasion when God offered to give King Ahaz of Judah a sign. "Ask me for a sign, Ahaz, to prove that I will crush your enemies as I have promised. Ask for anything you like, and make it as difficult as you want." (Isaiah 7:11 NLT) Here, the Lord was willing to strengthen the king's faith with a sign of impending victory. Instead, Ahaz foolishly turned down God's offer. "No," he said, "I wouldn't test the Lord like that." (Isaiah 7:12 NLT) The verses that follow reveal that God was actually angered by the king's refusal to ask for a sign.
There are times when I feel impressed in my spirit to ask the Lord for a sign that would encourage my heart in a situation. I receive confirmation that these impressions are from Him, when I receive the answer to my request in defining ways. God does not want us depending on signs as a way of living the Christian life. We are to "live by faith," not by signs. (Romans 1:17) But it would be wise for us to be sensitive to the times when our God would have us turn to Him and say, "Lord, give me a sign..."
Prayer: Lord, teach me how to pray for signs when it's Your will and pleasure for me to do so. Help me to become more sensitive to Your Spirit's leading by devoting myself to Your Word and prayer. Thank You, Lord, that the signs I seek will increase my faith and glorify You!
- J. M. Farro