The Pharisees came and began to argue with him, asking him for a sign from heaven, to test him. And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation ask for a sign? Truly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation.” And he left them, and getting into the boat again, he went across to the other side. (Mark 8:11-13 NRSV)
Jesus “sighed deeply in his spirit.” Doesn’t this image of Jesus touch your soul? One can envision Jesus sighing, perhaps shaking his head while holding his fingers to his temple, showing his exasperation when he is asked once AGAIN to prove himself to the Pharisees. Does Jesus sigh deeply with us, too?
God is always working, the Spirit is always moving, but I often deem these God-moments as coincidences. A voice awakens me from sleep and I attribute it to a dream. God shows me a sign, but since it wasn’t the one I specifically asked God to show me, I discount it. Someone says, “God told me…” and my eyebrows raise with doubt. The lessons of nature provide insight for my daily living, but I pay no attention. A friend says a word I need to hear, and I disregard it. I know there are signs all around me. I just discount, ignore or miss them completely.
And then Jesus asks, “Why does this generation seek a sign?” His words speak to me of true faith. I may miss out on many signs, but even if signs were never sent, God is still loving, still actively working in our lives. Jesus is still serving as our teacher, mentor, model for living, and gift of love from God. The Spirit is still guiding, inspiring, and giving us wisdom. The more we learn to trust all of these, the less we will need signs.
Erica Jong has said, “Advice is what we ask for when we already know the answer but wish we didn’t.” I wonder if we seek signs especially in times of our self-doubt. We may hear a calling from God but we doubt our ability, and so we ask for a sign. We may feel nudged to take action but we feel uncomfortable, and so we ask for a sign. We know in our hearts that we are meant to follow Christ, but he asks much from us, and so we ask for a sign. Instead of trusting in God’s provision, in Jesus’ example, and in the Spirit’s wisdom, we believe we are inadequate- and so we ask for a sign.
We have more than enough, don’t we? We have the Word of God with us- in the Bible, in the life of Jesus, and in all creation. We have the Spirit of God in us. We have experiences of God’s love revealed in our own lives. We have everything we need- signs or no signs.
Trusting in God’s loving guidance and provision for every moment of our lives, may we stop seeking signs and begin serving as signs of God’s presence from heaven, here among us now.
Are you talking to ME?
Today Jesus is asking, “Why does this generation ask for a sign?”
Do you have a sign- an experience of God- that you might share with someone today? Do you have a tendency to doubt a word or nudge from the Spirit? In what situations, if any, do you seek signs? In what ways do you doubt yourself? In what ways do you doubt God? Are you being invited to deepen in faith and trust today? How might you become a visible sign of the presence of Christ for others?
Photo by Austin Chan on Unsplash
Karen, have you read Frederick Buechner’s parable about one night the stars spelled out GOD IS LOVE. Everyone saw it the world over and marveled and took it to heart–for a while, and then got used to it and forgot to look up. I so resonate with your thoughtful reflection–both that i want signs revealing the Divine and that life is filled with them! Thank you for sharing your faith and wisdom. I hope you and yours are faring healthy and safe in these challenging times.
Always good to hear from you, Cristy! Thank you for your words and for letting me know our mutual desire for signs! I had not heard his story but this serves as an excellent example.
We are doing well and I hope you are too. I look forward to your book in the not-so-distant future! Stay healthy. ❤
We just don’t seem to realize yet, who is harmed when we ignore His signs. Thankfully, He forgives and sends another. May we soon open our eyes, see, and respond. Thanks for your wisdom!
I have told God how I am slow of heart and mind in paying attention. 😁 You’re so right- we are the ones who then miss out. And God continues to make good in spite of us.
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So many signs in my lifetime! The God Given ones have so often come from family He has used to set me on the right path! One important one was getting me here! When l told my daughter l would be fine in our apartment and didn’t need the extra help l would get from Assisted Living, she said “ what would happen to dad if something happened to you?” In a God like “flash” He laid it all out for me and the next day l had 3 places to look at and signed up for the perfect apartment here that day! My daughter said “wow, you sure changed your mind fast”! I told her “ God used you to get my attention”❣️😇 Blessings❣️🙏🙏❤️💕💖🤗
My family has blessed me in the same way! God works through those who love us, for sure. Thanks for your example! 🥰 I am thankful you paid attention!