But He said, “On the contrary, blessed are those who hear the word of God and observe it.” As the crowds were increasing, He began to say, “This generation is a wicked generation; it seeks for a sign, and yet no sign will be given to it but the sign of Jonah. For just as Jonah became a sign to the Ninevites, so will the Son of Man be to this generation.” Luke 11:28-30
There are religious people and groups who live their lives seeking signs. A brief conversation with them reveals this as all they can talk about are all the signs they’ve seen to affirm God’s power and will. What’s perplexing to me though is if I try to have a conversation about the word of God with many of these people about some basic truths, such as how to be saved, many times I find they put their faith in experiences above the word of God.
I don’t write this as if I am someone who has never experienced an unexplainable phenonmenon. I have. When I was a teenager I was praying the rosary at a Youth 2000 retreat and my rosary turned gold in an instant. It happened, and I will never deny that it did. I can’t explain why, but I won’t allow that occurance to override the truth of God’s word because a few years later after that event I realized much of what I had been following at that time did not match up to God’s word. My experience could not have been an affirmation of following God’s will.
In consideration of my own encounter, one thing I will rarely do is try to talk someone out of what they perceive as a miraculous experience. It is their experience and I’m not going to change what happened. However, by learning the truth, the interpretation of that experience may change. As with my rosary, what once seemed like a miraculous confirmation of my faith became to me a puzzle when faced with the truth. I have my own theories that I feel may explain what happened, but I don’t need that sign to validate my beliefs. I have God’s word that does that.
There are signs we can observe of God all around us — in the wonders of nature, in the love of people, in healings through prayer, in the workings of divine providence, and more. Everything good is from God and there are phenomenons we can’t explain. I don’t want anything I say here to take away from that. Yet, one of the greatest miracles we have is His perfect word that proves His will. Though Jesus, the apostles, and the early church used miracles of the Holy Spirit to prove their message was from God, aside from the sign of Jonah which was Jesus’ resurrection, the focus was not on the miracle performed but on the message spoken in a time where the words of the new covenant were being established. Jesus makes that clear by condemning the wicked generation who continually sought signs and yet didn’t believe His words.
Today we have the completed word which has previously been confirmed by prophecies, miracles, eye witness accounts, and most notably centers on the awe-inspiring result of the sign of Jonah. No additional signs are needed to know God’s will but His word. Let us be thankful for the good things we experience, especially the unexplainable, but let us beware in putting our faith in seeking signs above the inspired word; they could lead us astray. As faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God (Rom. 10:17), let’s hear the word and observe it and we will never go wrong.
My Holy God, never do I want to take away from Your mighty power. You are the Creator of this world and everything is at Your disposal to do as You wish. Thank you for the unexplainable blessings we receive in life. Even though there are things I can’t explain, I know I can find comfort and confirmation in Your word that guides me into all truth. It is in Your words that I put my trust first and foremost no matter what my experiences. Your word is a testimony from the Holy Spirit of salvation through Jesus’ resurrection. May all honor, glory, and power be to You in praise of the wonders of the past and of those of the future as all things good center on Christ’s victory over death, Amen.
Truth in love,