I’m a bit of a skeptic at heart when it comes to “God signs.” That phrase alone makes me cringe (along with its sibling “God thing”) and I have always had a hard time claiming with any amount of certainty that something was a sign or word from God.
I used to think this was an indication of one of my many shortcomings. If I just had more faith I could speak confidently of what I knew God was trying to communicate. If I was a better Christian, God would make himself known more clearly. If I read the bible/prayed/fasted/devoted myself more, I could use language of certainty. If only I was more, then those “God signs” would be real.
Sometimes I still believe this.
But I’ve also been around long enough to see how people manipulate these signs from God. How they speak with such certainty about things that are not certain. How their “God signs” were often things that they wanted to see or happen. Or to serve as proof of their very “in-ness.” We Christians are very good at speaking what we want to believe as though it were sound truth.
If I have to err on either side of this conundrum I think I would rather err on the side of skeptic. I don’t want to be cynical, but I’d rather not feel like everything must be a sign from God in order for it to warrant merit. And also, if I’m being real honest here, I’m just not confident enough to say with any amount of certainty that something is from God. Maybe that reveals a weak faith, or maybe wisdom from years of witnessing the voice of God sound an awful lot like whoever is speaking on His behalf. Probably a little of both.
And yet still I feel like maybe the spirit is nudging me to be more open to naming God’s work. Maybe I can acknowledge deep in my heart movement I hope to be of God.
I have two red headed babies. They have the kind of red hair that stops people in their tracks. It is truly beautiful hair. Everyone always asks, “Where on earth does it come from?” My husband and I are both brunettes through and through. Neither of us has the fair complexion or ginger roots that would naturally be inclined to produce such vivid red hair on a kid.
For a long time I would answer that question with a simple “my side of the family.” This is certainly true; my dad, sister and brother all have heads of different shades of ginger.
But I’m never telling my whole truth when I answer this question. What I want to say when people inquire about their red hair is much more vulnerable. I want to say, “I think their hair comes from my dad. I think it’s a sign from God for me to trust that my dad in heaven and God is still good. Because my first two babies have honey colored and dark brown hair but then, when I was pregnant with this third baby, my dearly loved, red haired dad unexpectedly died and the effects of this tragedy took a toll on my faith and my understanding of God. Then, six months later, I gave birth to a little red haired anomaly and it felt a little kiss from my dad.
Maybe it was from God, but it could have just as easily have been a nice coincidence.
But then, sixteen months later I gave birth to another ginger haired baby and I wonder if surely this meant God was trying to tell me something, that this was more than just coincidence. Maybe it is a sign.”
If it had just been Lou, the older daughter, I might have been able to convince myself that it was all just a lovely coincidence. But then Rory came and two babies with the same hair color that is nothing like their parents but everything like their grandfather and maybe, just maybe it’s more.
It could be a little piece of my dad in the babies he never got to meet. Maybe it was God’s way of keeping my dad’s name on my tongue. Whenever anyone asks where their unique hair color comes from I get to speak of my dad. And I get asked that question multiple times a day. Or maybe it’s a visual reminder of him I get to kiss and hug every day.
But sometimes I wonder if it’s even more that that. Maybe it’s a reminder of God’s love and care for me still. A physical representation that God cares about me enough to send me a sign, an answer to the rawest and most vulnerable questions my heart holds. These two babies and their unique hair color came during a season of my life when I so desperately needed to know that God was good. Could God’s answer to the biggest questions and fears I have about Him lie in the hair atop my daughters’ heads? An answer I desperately need to hear? Maybe it is a God thing…
I’m learning in this season to claim this truth with a little more certainty. I could be wrong, sure. But I’m tired of letting my fear of being wrong allow me to assume that God can’t or won’t move in my life. I don’t want to stop looking for God’s hand because I’m afraid of placing too much significance on some innocuous seeming event. I don’t want to be silent because I’m afraid to hope.
And while I will likely not go into this whole mess of theology and belief with the check out girl at Trader Joe’s each time I am asked about their hair, I will settle in a little more deeply in my heart my own truth about God’s work and his “sign.” I will choose to believe this God thing…