In 1998 I saw an upside down rainbow. It was almost straight overhead, high in the sky and didn’t end on the earth. Some of my sons saw it with me and we wondered how it was caused. It looked like it could have been a complete circle but we only saw the bottom side of it, an amazing arc of color under rain clouds, an ethereal smile. Wow. I’m so glad I wasn’t the only one who saw it. I wish I had taken a photograph of that rainbow.
In 1999 I saw a whirlwind of late fall leaves. I was in the backyard and heard a huge whooshing sound, a sudden loud crackling, like a thousand newspapers being rustled. I ran around the house from the backyard and saw an entire column of leaves swirling up from the ground. The column of rushing leaves completely filled the tree from the ground to the top of a tree. The sound I heard was those dry leaves crashing and breaking against the bare branches of the tree, like a giant blender filled with ice cubes. Wow. It was so fast and sudden, I didn’t have time to grab a camera.
When I saw those leaves I asked “What, God?”
If God was trying to tell me something, I didn’t want to miss.
But there were no words so I just watched and marveled as the whirlwind dispersed and all the leaves fell down to the ground again.
Have you ever seen something that has no explanation? Moses saw a burning bush and he stopped what he was doing in order to get closer to figure out what this strange sight was and God called to Moses from the burning bush.
. . .
4 When the Lord saw that he had gone over to look, God called to him from within the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
And Moses said, “Here I am.”
5 “Do not come any closer,” God said. “Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground.” 6 Then he said, “I am the God of your father,[a] the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob.” At this, Moses hid his face, because he was afraid to look at God.
7 The Lord said, “I have indeed seen the misery of my people in Egypt. I have heard them crying out because of their slave drivers, and I am concerned about their suffering. 8 So I have come down to rescue them from the hand of the Egyptians and to bring them up out of that land into a good and spacious land, a land flowing with milk and honey—the home of the Canaanites, Hittites, Amorites, Perizzites, Hivites and Jebusites. 9 And now the cry of the Israelites has reached me, and I have seen the way the Egyptians are oppressing them. 10 So now, go. I am sending you to Pharaoh to bring my people the Israelites out of Egypt.”
Have you seen something you can’t explain? Do you feel a tug to do something for which you don’t feel qualified?
In 2008 I saw an orchid bloom. I had been very discouraged and was crying at the kitchen window. It was so very hard being caregiver of my father-in-law in our home while his Alzheimer’s Disease progressed. The disease was ravaging his mind and I felt like my own life was being fractured and broken. I didn’t have the time, energy or attention my children needed and feared I was neglecting them while taking care of a man who barely knew I was even there.
Through tears I asked God “Is everything going to be ok?” I just needed to know that everything was going to work out alright, that my kids would not be harmed from the complicated situation we were in. After I asked God that question, I was still uneasy. So I wanted a sign from God. But then I thought that would be silly to ask for a sign. People who know God believe in him, right? Wouldn’t asking for a sign be a lack of my faith? But the tears kept falling and I looked at a plant on my window sill and asked God for a sign. I asked him to make the orchid bloom.
The orchid was over ten years old and had never bloomed. It was a sterile orchid. But I asked God to let it bloom to show me that everything would be all right. And then I forgot my prayer. Asking God for a sign was like telling him “The ball is in your court. I will wait for you to make the next move.” Peace descended on my spirit and I was ok.
Four days later though, I was washing dishes when I just happened to see the orchid. My jaw dropped. A shiver ran down my spine. There, sticking out from the orchid, was a bloom stalk several inches long. For it to be that long, it would have had to start growing as soon as I had prayed “God, make the orchid bloom.” At that moment, probably before I finished asking, God said “Yes” and he made that sterile orchid to bloom. I took a photo. Big, beautiful, white flowers lined the stalk. That was five years ago. I still have the orchid but it never bloomed again.
Ever since then, I’ve never needed another sign. If God can make a sterile orchid bloom, I don’t need any other sign. If God says “Everything is going to be ok” I don’t need to hear it again. I believe him. I remember. He was right, everything did work out ok.
Things might not be going the way you want. And things might get worse before they get better. But in the end, everything is going to work out ok. Trust God.
9“Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’
If you remove the yoke from your midst,
The pointing of the finger and speaking wickedness,
10 And if you give yourself to the hungry
And satisfy the desire of the afflicted,
Then your light will rise in darkness
And your gloom will become like midday.
11 “And the LORD will continually guide you,
And satisfy your desire in scorched places,
And give strength to your bones;
And you will be like a watered garden,
And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
12 “Those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins;
You will raise up the age-old foundations;
And you will be called the repairer of the breach,
The restorer of the streets in which to dwell.
Put your trust in God and stay strong. He will be with you in the work.
Everything is going to be ok.