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Signs and Wonder(ing)

Why is it that when you are faced with a crisis of faith, or a monumental decision to make, that you begin looking for signs from God? As if God must all of a sudden be paying attention to you — for good or ill — and that he must be trying to get a message across, and that he must be wringing his hands hoping we will make the right choice. In times like this when I am looking for signs, I find myself especially observant of text I see around me : text on street signs, billboards, headlines, brochures. As if, in my case, God prefers the written word to the burning bush. Does happening to notice the street sign “Camp Bowie” mean I should just camp out in my current situation?

Yesterday our family faced a crisis of monumental proportions. The house we have loved and have been trying to buy in the midst of selling our own house now has two other prospective buyers. Since it’s not allowed for realtors to tell potential buyers what other people are bidding, you must make a blind step of faith, turn in a number, and pray the other people are poorer than you. Ah, but that’s just it. Does God take sides in such matters?

In other news from yesterday, and very un-coincidentally (as I am forced to observe), Drew verbally expressed an emotion for the very first time as the rain was coming in. He said, “Do scewed.” Which doesn’t actually mean “Drew is screwed.” Translated directly from the Greek it is, “Drew scared.” The thunder was rolling in complacently, not vigorously, but threatening to start a bigger show. And then there was Drew, abruptly at my side as I folded the laundry. He was telling himself, “Tunder, t’sokay. Tunder, T’sokay.” (Thunder, it’s OK…) Yes, I said. The thunder is just fine. It has every right to be thundering.

“Don’t want it,” said Drew.

How funny to say that, I thought. When have I ever verbalized not wanting something as natural and inevitable and unpreventable as thunder? What’s the use? But when you’re two, maybe stating your opinion on the matter gives a small feeling of control. It’s better than not being able to find the words at all.

So…about this bidding war. I DON’T WANT IT. (Hear that, God?)

I wish the first time Drew expressed his feelings to me would be to say I’m happy, I’m sad, I’m excited. But it was: I am scared. His first verbalized emotion was fear. But at least for me his mother, it was better than not hearing what was in his heart at all. It was very dear just understanding what was actually going on inside that precious head, and knowing he trusted me enough to divulge it and seek comfort in my presence. Maybe God feels the same way — that he would rather hear from us in anxiety or uncertainty than not at all. It is probably not fair that we treat him that way. But he is gracious enough to take us any way he can get us, and maybe he’ll even throw in a sign or two just to humor us.

But by the end of the day, no sign had yet appeared. So we did what we felt was best and trusted that God hadn’t been too busy folding his laundry to listen. And even though we still don’t know the outcome, I feel a strange peace and believe that when the storm has blown through and the sun is shining, the thunder won’t seem as frightening to us as it did in our memory.