Whenever I hear of someone having some kind of unusual spiritual experience, I confess I feel a tinge of jealousy.
While I’ve had my moments of being immersed in God’s presence, he simply has not chosen to give me miraculous signs and wonders, strange physical manifestations, or supernatural experiences. Those things would probably scare me, actually, and I think God knows that. So he likely takes a gentle approach toward me. Still, I think there’s something in all of us that wishes for physical proof of God’s presence. Sometimes we allow ourselves to believe that such signs are only given to the special chosen or very spiritual and we want to be one of those.
I’m not suggesting that the Lord can’t or won’t reveal himself in such a way to fulfill his purpose. But the problem with seeking supernatural manifestations as proof of his presence and power is that we can be lured into comparing our experiences with those of others. We can find ourselves in a lie, believing that without an unusual encounter we must not have enough faith, be Christian enough, spiritual enough, loved by God enough, blessed enough, special enough, or filled with the Holy Spirit enough.
Our faith can quickly become a journey of seeking the next big thing for confirmation instead of relying on faith as “the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen” (Hebrews 1:11).
The truth is that God remains faithful to who he is and what he promises with or without signs and wonders.
In my own life, I remember going through a time of doubting, in which I needed to hear from God. As I sat looking out my window, I prayed for a sign that he was at work in my life – I felt ignored by him, despite my prayers for resolution. I asked for something – anything – that was so unusual it could only be from God, as proof that he cared and was present. Maybe a cloud with my name on it or some exotic bird that I’d never seen before perched in a tree. I imagined the glowing heat of instant physical healing, or a sunbeam shining in my living room, complete with angels’ song. It seems silly now but that’s what I was thinking that day.
Do you know what I saw instead of the flashy miracle I wanted? Sparrows. Lots of common, run-of-the-mill sparrows. Actually, it was the sound of them that first caught my attention. There were dozens loudly chirping in the bushes and on the ground that I hadn’t noticed moments before.
I remembered what Jesus said about sparrows…about how the Father knows every time one falls just as he knows the number of hairs on my head (Matthew 10:29-31). If he cares about something as common as a sparrow, how much more does he care about me – about each of us – his beloved of all creation?
This is the creator of the universe we’re talking about; the Lord of Hosts, king of all heaven and earth, ruler of everything both seen and unseen.
Amazingly, he still cares about sparrows. Even more so he cares about the smallest details of my life along with my greatest desires and needs and knows of them even before I ask (Matthew 6:8).
God heard my prayer that day and delivered. I have my “signs and wonders” in the form of common little brown birds every time I look out my window. I need no more reminder of God’s love, his provision, his power, or his presence in my life than that.
Check out an earlier post by Cindy here.