Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sign Language

The way of a fool seems right to him, but a wise man listens to advice.

-- Proverbs 12:15

Hollywood movies are rarely sources of Biblical truth. But Bruce Almighty is a refreshing exception to the rule.

Grossing nearly $500 million worldwide in ticket sales, the 2003 comedy stars Jim Carrey as a popular Buffalo, N.Y.-based television reporter with lots going for him – particularly his lovely girlfriend, played by Jennifer Anniston. But after enduring the worst day of his life, Bruce boils over with rage and declares to the Almighty that he can do a better job being God than God Himself.

One of the movie’s best scenes depicts Bruce demanding a sign from the Lord. And God answers by giving him several obvious ones – a construction sign, flashing lights and even a phone call – within a matter of minutes. But because Bruce is blinded by anger and disbelief, he can never grasp them except in hindsight.

Sound familiar? At one time or another, we’ve all asked God for a sign or a word to get us through a difficult situation. We really want Him to write out His will for us in the sky, speak to us in a booming voice or have one of His angels send an E-mail. But that’s usually not God’s way of communicating to His followers. And even if it were, would we have the eyes to see His signs or the ears to hear them?

God does, however, speak to us in many different ways. And they’re often well-timed warnings as we’re heading down the wrong path in life. One way God tries to get our attention is through the example of others. For instance, if your next door neighbor were tried and convicted for tax evasion, would it make you think twice if you were considering committing the same crime? God also speaks to us through Scripture. When you ask Him for guidance (and often when you don’t), Bible passages that you may have read or heard many times before can become crystal clear or take on new significance. And what about the times when a friend, family member, co-worker or even a stranger takes you aside to tell you something straight out of left field. If it relates to something that hits too close to home, chances are that God is using that person as His messenger of truth.

As Christ-followers, we need to be on the lookout for God’s warning signs before we make a poor choice about a relationship, career move or any other life-changing issue. After all, He sees the big picture that we can’t. And He wants only the best for us.

Is God trying to get your attention? If so, He probably isn’t doing it with a personalized flashing neon sign. Instead, His warnings are more likely to come through the words of a caring friend, the experiences of a family member or even scenes from a good Hollywood movie. But whatever form His message takes, open your eyes, ears and heart to it. We happen to worship a personal God Who cares. And what’s more – as Bruce quickly learned from his face-to-face encounter with the Almighty – He’s a God who knows you by name.

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