I am tending to believe lately that most people in this world have asked God at some point or another to give them a sign that everything is going to be ok when they’ve been going through an extremely difficult time in life. I also think that’s even true for people who declare themselves as atheist or agnostic when the pain becomes great enough in their lives. Just over a year ago, I watched my own roommate, who doesn’t believe in souls, heaven, or anything greater than himself, call upon God for a sign that he was going to get better when he was enduring severe mental and emotional upheavals. And ironically, shortly thereafter that request, he got the help he needed and those upheavals subsided. But like many people probably do, he labeled it not as a sign of God, but as a coincidence, and instead gave the credit to the doctors he saw and the medications he took.
A few months ago, I wrote about this very topic, but I felt it might be worth revisiting given something that happened in my life a few days ago, that I’ll be sharing with you in a moment. In that previous entry, I spoke of the biggest thing many people in this world often think of when it comes to a sign from God, and that’s the burning bush experience that Moses had thousands of years ago. But what if the signs from God these days are much more subtle than that? And because they are so subtle, what if it’s just our brains playing tricks on us by telling us that they aren’t signs at all and instead are just coincidences?
This is something as of late that I have been pondering a lot actually. To be perfectly honest with those who are reading this, I still cry out to God at least once or twice a week for a sign that my physical pain levels are going to reduce, and that everything is going to be much healthier for me again one day. Enduring high levels of physical pain for three years now that doctors, medical tests, and medications were unable to provide me any relief from, has taken its toll on me. There are days when I really just want to give up, but it’s on those days that I have ended up pleading with God instead to show me some sort of sign that I’m going to be ok.
In almost every case when I’ve asked for that sign from God, something positive has happened for me that my brain always tries to tell me, it was just a coincidence and wasn’t exactly what I was asking for. I have often wondered if this is the precise reason why God stopped providing those huge burning bush experiences a long time ago? Maybe God got really tired of demonstrating those signs because time and time again we just labeled them as a coincidences and wanted something bigger to essentially prove God’s presence during those difficult times? The only thing that I can say is true, is that I believe God still does provide signs when we ask for them, but they come more as gentle nudges rather than huge knock downs.
Case in point, as I mentioned earlier, I had one of these experiences a few days ago on a particularly rough morning. On that day, my first thoughts were of seriously questioning my sanity with my pain levels and how much longer I could continue to endure them like this. I thought about God and prayed for some type of sign to help me get through the day. Shortly thereafter, I looked at my e-mail and saw I had received communication from a friend who too has been struggling in life, but for other reasons. When I opened his e-mail, I expected to read about some of the struggles he has been facing in life, which I have been praying lately for him. Instead, I saw a very brief gratitude based letter that simply stated he was having a moment of serenity in his life and felt called to share with me a few words he heard from a speaker at a meeting recently. They were that “God didn’t bring me this far to let me fall…”
For someone like my roommate, who considers himself an atheist, I’m sure he would have labeled that e-mail as just a coincidence. But for someone like me, who has desperately been trying to grow closer to my Higher Power, I took it as an example of one of those subtle signs from God. And I believe that it was God’s way of telling me to hang in there for just a little while longer.
So whether you have a faith in something greater than yourself or not, if you should ever find yourself calling out to a Higher Power for a sign when you’re going through a rough patch in your life, I encourage you to take a moment, breathe, and remember my brief story I just shared with you. Signs from God can be so much more subtle than what our brains tend to want. But if you can accept that, then I can assure you that your Higher Power will give you that sign you’re asking for, it just may look a whole lot different than what your brain was hoping for…
Peace, love, light, and joy,
Andrew Arthur Dawson