Jul 112016 2 Responses

Three Times God Showed Me a Sign…I Think

One three specific occasions in my life, I felt as though God showed me a sign. A sign is something which points to something else. It’s an intervening in a current circumstance which shows us a part of the bigger picture. Humanity has long asked God to do something for us in order to confirm our faith that He actually exists.

In college, I had three specific experiences where I believe God acted in a way to encourage my faith.

A Church Van

With every minute that passed, my blood pressure was rising. When I was lost at 10:15, it was funny. As it got closer to 10:40 I was panicked. The service would begin at 10:45 and I had no idea where the church was located. I knew I was close, but I couldn’t find it. If you couldn’t find a church five minutes before service, you might mark it up as a good effort to do something holy and then go grab a late breakfast. I didn’t have that luxury. I was scheduled to preach.

I sat at a 4-way stop and didn’t know what to do. I had sat at every side of this 4-way stop while looking for the church and no direction led me to where I needed to be. Thankfully, yet unfortunately, there was no traffic. So while I wasn’t holding anyone up by just sitting there, I also didn’t have anyone I could ask for directions. This was before Siri, Google Maps, or Garmin. I had a map which was wrong and nothing else.

As I sat there, a vehicle approached from my right. Knowing I would soon have to make a decision, I prayed: “Lord, you know my sermon and you know this church. If you want me to preach then you get me there.” The vehicle to my right was a van. It stopped at the sign and waited for me to go. I waved it on. As it drove in front of me, I began to laugh out loud. On the side of the van was clearly printed the name of the church. Having picked up a few people, it was going to be right on time for service. And I would arrive right behind it.

A Bad Sermon

A few years later I was preaching on a Wednesday night at a little church just outside of town of where I went to college. When I was invited, I thought it was kind of the pastor to ask me to do an 8-week series on Wednesday nights. Now that I am a pastor, I think the pastor desired a break more than hoping to be kind.

On this one night, things just didn’t go as I had hoped. It’s easy for ideas to sound impactful on paper and then sound empty when spoken. The sermon fell flat. I was bored. The people were bored. We all just wanted out of there. I was preaching on God’s love and on the particular idea that one way God communicates his love to us is through His creation. I’m not sure why the sermon didn’t work well—maybe because it was a vacation week and everyone in the room were all the people who weren’t on vacation. Whatever the problem, the sermon didn’t work and I ended it as quickly as I could.

After the service, the internal dialogue which had begun midway through the sermon became louder:

  • Is this really what I want to do with my life?
  • Has God really called me to do this?
  • Is this some cosmic joke where I’m feeling God is calling me to do something I could never do?

Having just preached about God’s love, I was wondering if God really loved me. If he did, why did he allow me to be so bad? As these questions ran through my mind, I walked out of the sanctuary, down a short hall and out the side door. It was the preschool entrance to the church so there was a porte cochere covering the driveway so moms and dads could drop off their children on a rainy Sunday morning. I remember quickly scanning the parking lot on that dark night, but saw no one. Just as I got to the edge of the covered driveway, I saw a great flash. The sky lit up and felt as though a spotlight was suddenly upon me. As quickly as it came, it went. Before I even knew what had happened, the parking lot was once again dark. I looked around and no one saw what I saw.

A meteor had fallen at the exact moment I had left the church after preaching about God’s love as communicated through creation. Now we can debate how I should interpret the meteor. Some may say that God missed as he was trying to take me out. Others might say the meteor symbolized the fact the sermon had crashed and burned. But I took it as a little encouragement from God reminding me that He is far bigger than me and my bad sermons.

A Smaller Light

One Friday night as a college student, I was sitting in a friend’s kitchen. It was a night where a lot of people were hanging out and for whatever reason, I ended up in the kitchen talking to one friend. As we talked, they asked for more detail of why I felt called to preach. I told the story the best I could—an internal struggle, key verses I kept seeing in the Bible, and comments other people made.

Unbeknownst to me, as we talked, I happened to be sitting under a light that had a heat sensor on it. The light would be on, but when it began to become overheated, it would turn off. When it cooled down, it would come back on. All of this happened without any flip of the light switch. When we came into the kitchen, the light was off.

Somewhere during the story about my call to preach, I made the comment, “And one day the light came on” (making a snap with my fingers). Right as I said this, the light above my head switched on. We didn’t even know there was a light above my head, but at that exact moment we were suddenly showered with light.

Interpretation Means Everything

To a person without faith, the three previous stories are easily explainable. They are coincidence. But to a person of faith, they are far more than a random series of events. They are small signs of the presence of a providential God.

In the first story I was reminded that God always knows where I am even when I feel lost. It was an encouragement that He sees my plight. While he may not send a church van every time I am lost, I can trust that God can use even my lostness for His glory. I’ve often wondered if the reason the bus driver was late that day was because some of the kids weren’t acting very well. I can only imagine that faithful bus driver wondering why he hadn’t volunteered for senior adult ministry as he pulled in late for church, never realizing God had used his lateness and those rowdy kids to get the preacher there right on time.

The second story encouraged me to know that my call from God to tell the world about Him was bigger than any one sermon. He had called me and part of the call required me to learn how to communicate. I would have to suffer some and many congregations would have to suffer a lot, but just because it wasn’t going well in the moment didn’t mean the whole plan was wrong. We should all be careful about judging anything by one bad experience.

The third story felt like a playful reminder from God that He can do whatever He wants whenever He wants. The light didn’t change anyone’s life that night, but it was a funny moment that called us both into a bigger story than just our own.

Some would say each of these situations are just coincidences. I would agree that my life shouldn’t be based on any of these stories. However, being a person of faith, each circumstance served as a moment in which my faith was strengthened.

2 Responses to Three Times God Showed Me a Sign…I Think
  1. […] While Jesus is the ultimate sign of God’s presence, there are times in which God intervenes in... kevinathompson.com/sign-believe-god
  2. Baby Mama's Blog Reply

    I hope I don’t hog your comments here, but I truly believe that God speaks to us daily. If I had $1 for every time I had an issue, or a negative thought, or something going on in my life and the very next day I’ll get my daily scripture reading and it will be about that very thing. Not even vaguely – like, completely to the point.

    Just last night and this morning, I’ve been battling some anxiety – not sure where it is coming from except to say that I am tired. Then this morning I get this reading from Proverbs31.org – guard your heart for from it springs the wellspring of life.

    From this reading: “Be on guard! A foolish heart forgets God or even stops believing God. Excessive worry can act like a form of atheism. When we are paralyzed by fear and anxiety, we sometimes behave as if God does not exist. So, we must guard against a foolish heart by gaining a heart of wisdom.”

    Now, if that isn’t God telling me something – then I don’t know. And this just hasn’t happened today – it has happened numerous times over my Christian walk. If my hubby, who is not a born-again believer, is amazed at how often I get a reading the very next day that is so pertinent to what I was thinking, feeling or experiencing the day before. It is amazing.

    It excites me that I know that God still talks to us. It doesn’t have to be lightning – or meteors – it can be that quiet still voice that you just know that God has told you something. Thank you for the encouragement today – it confirms for me even more strongly that today’s reading from Proverbs31.org is for me. And best I start guarding my heart in Christ Jesus – because God did not give us fear, but only peace.

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