Advent 2017: Joy to the World: Day 4

Christ’s Birth Prophesied

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Today's Text: Isaiah 7:10-14, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Matthew 1:22-23, 1 John 4:7-10, Revelation 21:3-5

Scripture Reading: Isaiah 7:10-14, Jeremiah 23:1-8, Matthew 1:22-23, 1 John 4:7-10, Revelation 21:3-5

“The only reason I will do this is if God writes it in the sky.”

From time to time, throughout my journey of faith, I have made this stubborn declaration. Once to my parents. Once to my husband. Most recently, to some friends. I knew God was leading me in a particular direction, but the risk was big, the stakes were high, the likelihood of failure was strong. I didn’t think it was possible, so I wanted to be sure. I needed a sign.

Even after being a Christian for a long time, it’s easy to reach this point in our faith journey where we desire a sign from God, perhaps even more than we desire Him. We want to trust in something concrete, clear, and undeniable. Something we can point to and believe that, “Yes, God is real, and I can trust Him with this.”

Wouldn’t faith be easier that way?

That’s what makes Isaiah 7 such an interesting story. In verses 10-14, King Ahaz of Judah is facing terrible odds. His enemies are strong and their armies are powerful. The fate of God’s people looks grim. And so, in a display of love and goodwill, God offers Ahaz a sign of His trustworthiness. Any sign Ahaz desires, God will do it.  

However, rather than accept God’s generous offer, Ahaz does something startling: he rejects it.

Instead, Ahaz quotes Scripture back to God, as if he is holier and more knowing: “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test” (v.12). It’s a stunning moment of human pride, which Old Testament scholar John Goldingay explains this way: “The offer functions to expose Ahaz as a man who did not want to trust God even if he had the evidence.”

God nevertheless promises a sign to His people: a child born of a virgin, called Immanuel (v.14). The sign, in short, will be Jesus.

This story is a prophecy foretelling the birth of Christ, but it also challenges us with two truths. The first is to beware of our desire for a sign. Too often, our hearts are like Ahaz’s. We aren’t earnestly interested in trusting God more, but in trusting God less. Even if the sign would come, our circumstances would still be difficult. The odds would still be tall, the risk great, the darkness deep. Faith would still be required. A sign changes nothing about the situation, or God’s character; it only clarifies the source of our trust. If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God.

The second lesson this story teaches us is that a sign has already been provided. In Christ, we have the definitive sign of God’s faithfulness and love. Immanuel, “God with us,” is God’s proclamation to the universe that His intention is always redemption. Jesus is all the evidence we need that God is trustworthy and good. No additional sign could possibly supplement the bright, blazing promise of the Messiah come near.

That’s not to say God won’t provide occasional signs of discernment to guide us toward His will, but our faith cannot stand on these things. When it comes to trusting God with our families, our futures, and our lives, the sign has already been provided, once and for all, and His name is Jesus.

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Sharon Hodde Miller is a writer, speaker, pastor’s wife, mom, and she holds a PhD on women and calling. She blogs at SheWorships.com, and is the author of Free of Me: Why Life Is Better When It’s Not about You.

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  • Kelsey Bender

    I shared my testimony with someone recently and I had said out loud, “How ignorant am I to question the Lord’s plans for me?” In that moment, I realized why I was so stressed. Letting go of ignorance and trusting Him really is the only way towards peace.

  • Angelica Ging

    This devotion was so eye opening and a great reminder. In trial I tend to ask God for a sign or to feel his presence. So thankful that he is Immanuel. He is our constant even when we aren’t. He had no need to prove Himself yet he gives us “signs” anyway. Thank you Lord for loving us even when we don’t deserve it.

  • Emily Lange

    This is such an interesting perspective that I’ve never dwelled on before. Even if we were given a sign we still might not accept it. And yet God had given us his Son as his sign of redemption.

  • Michelle Gonzales

    This was a hard one to hear.
    “If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God.”
    I often feel like I am in his will. I am very involved in my church and work at a Christian campground and challenge other people and there walk all the time. Yet I struggle with really trusting God to provide and challenge me to grow and open up new opportunities. I want that flashing sign in the sky moment. Even though I know it’s wrong. I need to trust that God will be in whatever I put my heart to.

  • Vanessa

    “It’s easy to reach this point in our faith journey where we desire a sign from God, perhaps even more than we desire Him”.
    “If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God.”

    Going in 2018, I will now be self-aware of when I look more for signs than I do for God. It was important for me to hear that. It also made me realize where I wasn’t trusting God. It’s just REALLY hard to focus on someone or something non-physical. I feel silly closing my eyes whispering to what feels like air saying, “I trust YOU.” Who am I even talking to? It’s easier to lean on a sign or even a person in real life that makes a promise. I don’t know how to just wait around hoping He will answer my prayers. What if I’m praying wrong? That’s why a sign would be nice, so I know I’m not praying to the skies.

    • Melanie

      Such a tough one! I struggle with this, too. Do you think it would help to ask God to show you more of Him in your circumstances instead of asking for signs? Or ask for wisdom instead of signs? These are things I think I’m going to try incorporating into my prayers. What do you think? Are there things you can be seeking God for rather than signs?

      Be encouraged! God wants to draw you closer to Him in the coming year <3

  • Kasey Summers

    God with us… always. In the good times and in the hard times we’re not alone

  • Love this devotion!!!

  • Dear Barbara, Believe this, through my years of walking with Jesus, there have been many times I have been blessed with the appearance of a cardinal or cardinals in our yard. Eleven years ago my own mother passed on because of a severe cancer. I endured her illness with her for 11 months, along with my husband and brother. The illness was not so much the difficulty, it was that my mother was fiercely opposed to Jesus. I would be standing at the kitchen sink cooking or washing dishes and suddenly there would fly into my tree a lovely, brightly colored cardinal. I promise that this bird would look directly at me and not fly away until he was sure that I saw him. This happened frequently and the sweet surprise always reminded me of the hope we have in Jesus. I call this kind of an occurance “a wink from Heaven”. I agree, we do not always need a sign and Jesus is God’s sign to us, but he also knows my frame and knows I am but dust and he cares so deeply that he sends reassurance in a way that is personal and intimate because that is how The Holy Spirit cares for us.
    Oh and just the last week of my mother’s life on earth we were with her evedyday, We played hymns
    and talked to her about Jesus. My husband was very close to her and he took the opportunity to tell her about his conversion experience. She listened and didn’t resist his words. He then told her
    “Mom, I know you don’t want to need Jesus, there was a time I didn’t want to give my life to him either. The truth is, you do need Jesus and I will pray with you now to receive him.” My mother agreed and they prayed together. She went home to be with Jesus two days later.

    • Jennifer

      Nancy and Barbara, Those are beautiful stories of God, His faithfulness, and His great care for us. I can relate to both your stories. After going through a very difficult year of separation from my husband, I can attest that our loving Father God is all around us. If we look to him in faith, we will see Him. He pursues us constantly. He is always there. He never leaves us. All we have to do is look! Whether it’s a cardinal, verses that keep popping up, rainbows, encouragement from people… he is there. Some people call them signs- all I know is that God loves us and is all around us!

  • Belinda Frantz

    Even in the face of death Walking through the valley Faith(trust) is all we have How true that Jesus is all we need

  • Barbara Bennett

    A friend once told me that their is no such thing as a sign. when my son was diagnosed with cancer, I was so scared. We had an old swing set in my backyard that He played on as a child. When my husband and I left to go for my son’s surgery, there was the most beautiful cardinal sitting on top of that swing set. Every time we went back and forth to the hospital that cardinal was sitting in the same place. When my son recovered, I never saw that cardinal again.
    I have a friend with cancer. I sent Him a card with a picture of a cardinal on it and the story of how God took care of me and my son. He mentions that card often. He has kept it and knows my story.
    My son has had no further signs of cancer , and my friend is recovering.
    There is no doubt that God loved me so much that He sent that bird to let me know He was always near!!!!!! My son and friend are cancer free!

  • Rebecca Leek

    Loving this advent plan. So lovely to read everyone’s comments!

  • Miki Keik

    Even if a sign would come; faith would still be required. …so true.. my fickle heart doesn’t want to exercise faith(trust). Thank You Jesus that You are the promise. ❤️

  • Kathleen

    This was so excellent. Thank you

  • We don’t need to look for a sign! ‘In Christ, we have the definitive sign of God’s faithfulness and love.’ A much needed reminder!

  • Anna-Bradley Lozier

    I needed this. I’m always looking for signs. But He already sent me one in Jesus. Love this reminder.

  • Morgan Hoy

    When it comes to having faith in God too often I am like a fickle child, constantly looking for reassurance that He cares and that he notices. I appreciate God’s patience and mercy for me so much.

  • So thankful to know a community of women around the world are waiting for Christ and preparing for Him together. He is coming to gather His sheep and He will not delay!

  • The signs are everywhere, I only try and focus on signs where He uses others to lead me where He needs me to be.

  • Kendall

    This reminds me of a great truth from the very theological trilogy, “The Santa Claus” where the take home message is “Seeing isn’t believing, believing is seeing.” You can see all the signs in the world and still reject what is before you if you simply don’t believe; and on the other hand, if you believe, everything is a sign, and everything points to Him.

  • Jennifer

    Wasn’t looking for a sign…..but this was it!

  • Danielle Barlow

    I hadn’t really thought about my desire for a sign (to “seal my faith”) that way. It wouldn’t change anything. It truly would have me needing God less and trusting him less. But it’s still hard to process. We want everyone to instantly see Jesus and believe.

  • Wow, needed this today. Why do I desire the security and “proof” of God’s promises through definitive signs? Praying for an open heart and mind to know the gift of Christ is the greatest and ONLY proof I will ever need of God’s love and devotion to me

  • Megan Cavanaugh

    Needed this. This was my sign today! Thank you Jesus ❤️

  • Carly Acosta

    I am being blessed by this sweet devotion! Preparing my heart for Christmas has been a joy!

  • Rachel Brown

    This really hit home.

  • Danielle

    We just need to have faith and trust in Jesus. Good has the plan and purpose for us figured out. We just need to follow where he leads, go when he tells us, and remember to worship, pray, and give glory to God along the way like Abraham did on his way to the promised land.

  • Cynthia White

    A sign helps strengthen our faith

    • Claire

      Exactly. I feel guilty at times but on the other hand I want to be sure I am headed the direction I feel the Lord is pointing.

  • I have so often wanted a sign from God because I desire security; I want to know that the path I’m about to walk is what God truly desires from me before I embark on the difficult journey. Recently, God had been showing me how much I hold onto comfort and security. I want to know what’s going to happen and I want to hold tight to the things I believe are rightfully mine. But the only sign I should need and the only permanent thing God offers us is His love and His gift of Jesus. How long until my heart fully accepts His love and is completely satisfied? That is my desire.

    • Jennifer

      I could have written these words myself. I’m praying the same prayer; trust in our Maker that He has a plan that is far better than I could have ever imagined.

  • Erin Busekrus

    This was my sign.

  • Jennifer Kocan

    Needed to hear the truth today. Thanks for this powerful reminder!

  • I so often, too often look for signs instead of just trusting. i tell myself its because I doubt myself, sometimes it is, others it’s because I won’t trust God, won’t take him at it’s word. Yet, I have seen how much better it is to trust and how bitter the taste of regret is. My stubbornness and doubt are my downfall. I have gotten signs before other times God just repeats Himself until I get it, sometimes I make Him shout it at me, usually those are times when I’ve seen a sign but like Ahaz I rejected it. Like a fool, I reject it. As the old hymn goes “tis so sweet to trust in Jesus, just to take Him at His word, Just to rest upon His promise…Jesus Jesus precious Jesus oh for Grace to trust Him more”. May we all take Jesus at His word, it is better than any sign ever will be.

    • Rebecca Ferrell

      I grasp and understand lessons so much better when music, arts or creativity is used. Thank you for sharing this connection to the hymn. It was always my mom’s favorite growing up.

  • beloved one

    2 Corinthians 1:20 – For no matter how many promises God has made, they are “Yes” in Christ. And so through him the “Amen” is spoken by us to the glory of God.

    All of God’s promises are “yes” and “amen.” If he has promised it, we can begin to praise Him because He is trustworthy and will bring it to pass. The promises He made about Jesus and the fact that they have been fulfilled are evidence of the fact that if He promised it, it will happen. “God is not man, that he should lie, or a son of man, that he should change his mind. Has he said, and will he not do it? Or has he spoken, and will he not fulfill it?” Numbers 23:19.

    Let us be women who stand on the promises of God and rejoice that He WILL bring them to pass!

    • Ashley Williamson

      That is such a wonderful promise and statement of faith! He speaks his promises and we can be immediately confident that He will keep them. Amen!

  • songbird

    Thanks for this reminder.
    What I’ve been thinking about today is how we sometimes really need recognition from others: kind words from colleagues, compliments from your boss. It just can make your life feel so much more worthwile.
    However maybe I can see this as a reminder that trusting that God sees the effort you put into things will make one crave the recognition from others just a little less…

  • Cassandra Sund

    I think I highlighted every verse with today’s devotional. So powerful and eye opening.

  • Cori VanDusen

    The sign has come! What joyous news we wait in this advent season. A true reminder of what has happened, what is presently happening, and the hope of what’s to come:
    “And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying, “Behold, the dwelling place of God is with man. He will dwell with them, and they will be his people, and God himself will be with them as their God.
    He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”

    All things new ❤️

  • Jessica Tracy

    “If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God.” Dang! Way to bring the truth!!!

  • Sarah D.

    Amen. Trusting God with everything. I don’t need a sign. The biggest and brightest sign happened under starlight in a cave in Bethlehem. You came for us. Love came down and set me free. Take it all Lord, my life in Your hands.

  • Ranae Wurtz

    Amen! May we walk by faith not by “signs.” Trusting the sweet Holy Ghost to LEAD ON in life and in our walk with Jesus. What a beautiful reading this morning.

  • This hit deeper than I expected. I think back to all the times, past & even present, where in my prayers I’ve asked for a sign as guidance. “If this is the right (path, action, etc) please give me a sign so I know what your will is.” I never thought of it as my mistrust. Instead of simply praying and saying that I will follow His will, it’s like I’m saying I will only follow His will if I know the path beforehand. I will take this with me and keep this in my heart and mind when I pray.

    • Meg

      Yes! I feel exactly the same. I had never thought of asking for signs as a mistrusting of God. I often times feel like a child, needing approval and permission to take certain steps or paths in life. I need to trust that God has a plan for me, and if I fall He will always pick me up – no permission required!

  • There’s a difference between needing a sign because of lack of faith in Him versus me wondering if I heard Him or myself sounding like Him. Even Gideon asked for a fleece test to make sure he was hearing the Lord speak. We should not be afraid to approach God, asking Him for clarification. But then comes the step of faith into His Hands. There is such freedom in letting Him take over!

  • Morgan Hunka

    Today’s readings hit home. As someone who is newly married, recently relocated, and job hunting I feel lost in so much change. I’ve been looking a sign to help me feel anchored to God; a job or a new friend. But, this reminds me that he’s been here the whole time.

  • Cookie (Mary) Speer

    Trusting God leads me to a Crisis of Belief, Am I going to believe God is who He says He is or am I going to keep wanting signs thus the Crisis. If I believe that God is the great I AM, then I am just a vessel, broken but usable for His glory. I just need to step out in faith be obedient and watch what God does through and in me. Praise be to God.

  • Kathy Martella

    The sign has been provided his name is Jesus

  • Heather

    God is so good to us. He declares himself, shows himself, has nothing to prove to us, and yet, he gives us what he knows our human hearts and understanding lack in order to trust in him. He provided a sign for us. Jesus, our Immanuel.

  • As I prayed for my unbelieving brothers and sisters on Monday, I asked God to put people and circumstances in their lives which would open their eyes of their need for a Savior. You see, I had recently shared the Gospel with them, only to receive silence or out right rejection.

    Yesterday, an out of control fire raged in Ventura, CA (and is still raging today) where some of my family live. They had to leave their homes and evacuate the area. I have since learned that the homes of two family members are a total loss. A third had some fire damage, but still stands.

    In the midst of this loss and trial, I ask for God’s mercy on my family whom I love dearly and that He will use this for their good and His glory. May their focus shift from the things of this world to things eternal. Would you please join me in this prayer? I’d be so grateful.

    • Natalie

      Just said a prayer for your family. Praying the loss can soften their hearts, and not harden their hearts toward God.

    • Jeannie Behrendt

      I will be praying for you, your family, and God’s gracious sovereign leading in their hearts and lives. I, too, will pray for other believers to be a witness of His love in their time of need. May they turn their eyes to our only Hope…
      Wonderful Counselor,
      Almighty God, Everlasting Father,
      Prince of Peace.

  • Rea queen

    Signs don’t diminish my faith in God, but bolster it! They are a grace and a kindness that God gives. They strengthen my faith and confidence as I trust His leading and they remind me that HE is trustworthy no matter what. I ask for signs, direction, clarity all the time and He is gracious enough to meet me in those asks. I trust YOU, Jesus.

  • I was struck by Ahaz’s response in this scripture. God gave him a clear commandment, “Ask for a sign from the Lord, it can be as deep as Sheol or as high as Heaven,” but rather than obey, Ahaz veiled his disobedience in guise of holiness, quitting scripture to the very Word Himself. Just imagine. He knew that the posture of his heart was wrong, knew that no sign could convince a heart corrupted by mistrust. It’s really sitting with me, will I listen and obey, even when I know I don’t want to hear the answer? Or will I be obedient and see the promise fulfilled?

    Thanks for all your thoughts, ladies. They are so dear and precious!

  • donna2238

    it seems a regular occurrence to read srt and walk away with exactly what I needed.
    I often want signs of affirmation as in my past I’ve made some bad choices thinking I knew His will. the results were catastrophic at times.
    the truth is though, I wasn’t really interested in a “sign” as much as I was interested in making my own sign and forcing it into the hand of God.
    Jesus and the Word need to be my only source of confirmation. not books or seminars or friends…i need to trust Him without the need for signs.

    • Danielle S

      Amen! I so often feel paralyzed in decisions, desperately wanting to know what to do. But God has given me all the instruction and clarity I need, in Jesus and His Word.

  • My husband and I were anxiously waiting to know the gender of our second child this week when we got the news that she has some serious medical concerns and will need to be monitored and tested through the second half of my pregnancy. I wanted a “sign” that God was going to heal our child, but instead I am reminded today that He has already shown us the most love and given the greatest gift in Jesus, revealing his love and goodness. Regardless of the outcome of my child, God is good and faithful and I trust him and stand on that today. Thanks for reminding me of this truth!

    • Cait

      I love this so much. The sign is already there and has always been there – I was just seeing what I looked for.

    • Carly

      Holly, I am going through a very similar situation right now with my first baby. I find myself constantly struggling between being bold and asking God for complete healing for my sweet girl and yet being content if he chooses not to physically heal her. I just keep reminding myself that as much as we love our baby, God’s love for her is just that much more!!!! Praying for you in solidarity, sister. What a blessing that the Lord stands with us and ahead of us during these times!

    • Christina D.

      Holly thank you for sharing. It provided me with perspective I needed this morning and I greatly admire your ability to trust in God’s goodness and faithfulness while going through this uncertainty. Praying for you, your husband, and your sweet daughter.

    • Bonnie

      I’ve been in your shoes. SRT’s study on Mourning & Dancing is one that helped me through those hard days of waiting for the unknown. ❤️

    • Becky

      I’m praying for you Holly and Carly. I had a similar situation years ago with our first son. No matter the outcome, God is good.

  • Crystal Mendez

    God loves like no one else. When we lack trust, and even throw our unbelief in His face, He’s still there to provide what we need most. Himself – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I pray I can learn to love more like Him!

  • Rachel Shank

    If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God—BUT He gave us one anyway, Jesus.

  • Emily Parker

    Powerful message, “the sign has already been provided” really struck me

  • God just opened my eyes into how I have been looking for signs everywhere and making signs out of everything. Forgive me, Jesus. Help me focus on the promise you have made, and stop looking for signs. You are faithful. You always keep your promise. I want to fully trust you and believe in your faithfulness. Jesus, I believe, help my unbelief.

  • Churchmouse

    I left my nativity set on my living room credenza for all of this past year and I intend to leave it there forever. It’s a constant reminder of Immanuel – God is with us. Because when you feel alone, you need the reminding.

    • Cynthia

      I did the same with a nativity set under glass. What a great reminder to us every day! God IS with us!

  • Since I don’t trust that I know what God would have me do or not do most of the time, a clear sign would be so comforting. Trust is a tricky word. I know God is trustworthy but I am always afraid His answers will be painful. So it is not that I don’t trust Him. I don’t trust I am going to like it. It usually leaves me caught between scared of Him and running to Him with my fear. Confusing spot to be in.

    • Shana

      Sheila, I have carried this quote from CS Lewis in my wallet on a scrap pice of paper for over 10 years. I understand how you feel. ❤️
      “We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us , we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be. “

    • Rachel

      I can so relate! In a particularly hard season, where God was asking “do you trust Me?” in a situation that seemed as if surrender was guaranteed to bring great pain, i “randomly” picked up the book “Hinds Feet on High Places.” It changed my life- and my view of my God. Come to think of it, it might be time to pull it back out for a refresher… ;)

      • Stephanie Hamilton

        Wow! Thanks for the quote! I needed that. I struggle trusting God on the death journey. I know not anytime soon, but think of it often. I feel like I am not in tge right as a believer, this gave me peace, that it is ok to be here right now. This is so true!

      • Lou

        Brilliant book! If you haven’t read Pilgrim’s Progress – that’s a powerful read too xx

    • Christina D.

      Sheila I totally relate. I don’t often feel the Lord speak clearly or give me signs but a couple years ago I did get a strong word from God and it was “Don’t be afraid of things being difficult.” Still something I struggle with. Know that you’re not alone in feeling that way!

  • Amanda Hart

    This post could not have come at a better time. Trusting God is all I need.

  • Cassie Kendall

    My dad was diagnosed with Melanoma in October of 2016. He finished treatment this October and everything really went as well as it possibly could have. It was a tough season but we had so much to be thankful for. He just had a follow up and a lymph node by his lung has enlarged quite a bit in the 3 months since his last scan. This reminder to trust God was exactly what I needed this morning. If you read this, please pray! He does have a sinus infection, so we are hoping it is just a normal lymph node taking care of his body and not cancer, but it could go either way. Thank you sisters! This community is such a blessing. Thankful for you all today.

  • Annaliese Higgins

    Woah. I needed this today! Thank you!

  • I have been struggling with my teenager and my frustration boiled into tears last night. I complained to my husband that all my prayers seem to be going unnoticed. Why isn’t he listening or giving me a sign. My husband reminded me last night that God has a plan, I didn’t need a sign and to have faith. Then I read this devotional this morning. Jesus is all the evidence we need I just need to be more faithful.

    • Irina Tumasyan

      Hi Linda. Wanted to reassure you about your teen… I’ve been in these shoes for about 5 years now… First, my son and then my daughter… some days battling with them and some days just giving the situation to God… and through all these years God has been showing His faithfulness to me and to them. It’s been much easier now as this age coming to the end, and storms are calming down. What I learned is that I can do what God told me to do as to their mother: daily teach them to persuade truth and light and reject any kind of lie, pray for them and the rest leave to God…trusting that He will change their hearts. And He does… I can see it now. I’m praying for you Linda, embracing you with all my heart, trust Him as He is faithful.

    • Erin

      Amen. That’s so wonderful, Linda. And so encouraging to me as well.

  • “Jesus is all the evidence we need that God is trustworthy and good. No additional sign could possibly supplement the bright, blazing promise of the Messiah come near. ” God loved us so much he sent his only Son to die for our sins – what more could we ask for? We don’t need any further proof of his love…what areas of my life am I asking for signs in?

  • “…for these words are trustworthy and true.” Praise God for providing us with His word and his ultimate life surpassing promise, Jesus! One question that came to mind. Anyone know how many years were between when God spoke to Ahaz and when Jesus was born? What a gift we have to know Jesus has come, and will come again.

    • Krystle

      Ahaz reigned between 734-715BC, so it would have been just over 700 years until the prophecy was fulfilled in Jesus’ birth. Emmanuel- what an incredible sign of hope for the Hebrew people and the world!

  • Ashley Sams

    LOVED this post! ❤️

  • Alyssa Nelson

    When it comes to trusting God, “the sign has already been provided once & for all, & his name is Jesus!”

  • Karen From Virginia

    Immanuel Is one of my favorite words. I want to spend my life pondering God with us. All is well when I am aware that God is with us. He is not far off but he is near. Thank you Jesus for coming!

  • anne jones

    “A sign changes nothing about the situation, or God’s character; it only clarifies the source of our trust. If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God”. I have never thought about it this way, this speaks to me this morning that my prayers need to be to pray for increased faith and not signs.

  • Jennifer Borrego

    Today’s read was powerful. I really need it as a reminder to trust God and I loved the real ness of the post.

  • Kelly Chataine

    Immanuel ~ God with us!

  • Madison Kent

    I’m about to graduate from college next week and this message about trusting God hit home this morning. I feel like as I’m about to go into the next season of my life without concrete plans or any neon-caliber signs from God, He is calling me to let go of control and trust him to put the pieces together in His perfect timing, but that is SO much easier said than done! It was good for me to hear that needing a sign to trust God isn’t really trusting God, and it was also good and sweet to be reminded that the sign—the only one I’ll ever need—is Jesus.

    • Karen From Virginia

      You are right to trust him. I have been in that same position when I graduated from graduate school. That was many years ago and I want to just encourage you that he, that Jesus will be faithful. Run to him. Cling to him. Memorize and study verses regarding trust and wait, Psalm 25 is one of my favorites. He is with you. You will never regret trusting him. Even when it is uncomfortable.Congratulations and enjoy this huge accomplishment and know that God will lead you and he is and will show you his plans unfold!

    • Lou

      I feel I may be entering a new thing where I have to trust God. Last night I opened my bible to Isaiah 40 and it was lovely. Hoping it may help you too. Whatever happens, whatever comes your way, God is with you xx

  • All these verses speak of how faithful God is in His love for us that we never deserved. I look back On Isaiah and Jeremiah and see that every promise came true. So when I look ahead at the promises in Revelation, I can know that they are true, too, rooted in the great love Jesus has for us.

    Signs are gifts from God, they supplement our faith. I pray that I will behold even greater wonder in the greatest sign of all, Jesus—and in His Word. Incline our hearts to you, Jesus, and satisfy us with your love and faithfulness.

  • Abby Miller

    Wow this challenged me this morning. Thank you for this Word!

  • I ask God for signs all the time – but never to prove He is real. No, He showed that to me years ago; I did not ask for it, it came from Him. When I ask for signs, I ask only for guidance when I have a choice to make. I want to choose according to God’s plan for me but I am tremendously bad at interpreting His will. So I say, “God, this is what I want, but I don’t know if it’s what You want. Please send me a sign and give me eyes open enough to see it, and ears smart enough to hear it.” And God always sends me exactly what I need, even if it is not what I want. But I don’t need proof He is real and with me! He planted that loving proof in my heart long ago, and Jesus’s example of forgiveness is my daily proof. Because a human could never forgive the way He did, only the One could forgive so completely and for all time.

    • Annie

      God totally gave me a sign long ago as well and I feel so grateful for that. God once spoke through signs and prophets, but now speaks through Jesus (Hebrews 1:1). I pray that that will always be enough for myself and for all His people.

  • Kristine L

    I don t think it’s wrong to want a sign from God… we’re human, after all. When so much about God and faith is intangible, it makes sense our earthly bodies would crave an earthly assurance. BUT… I think it’s important to be able to move forward in faith and trust without that sign. If I ask for raining jelly beans as a sign from God that I’m on the right path and I’m not pelted with jelly beans, I have to trust the still, small voice and have faith that God is still directing my steps.

    • Kelly Chataine

      I often wonder how many signs God is sending my way that I totally miss. Praying that I have eyes that see God’s miracles, provision and majesty in my every day life.

  • “If we need a sign to trust God; then we don’t trust God.” Wow, just wow. My mind went immediately to Job 23:8-14. I’ve been spending a lot of time there in the last few months. I don’t think that I have ever specifically asked God to give me a sign, but there are so many times I am doing what I believe that He wants me to do and things aren’t going the way I pictured it going. It’s hard, and it’s messy, and I really believed that if I’m doing God’s will it should be easy and pretty and make me feel good all the time. News flash to me – it’s not! Job felt the same way. He said, “Behold, I go forward, but he is not there, and backward, but I do not perceive him; on the left hand when he is working, I do not behold him; he turns to the right, but I do not see him; BUT he knows the way that I take; when he has tried me, I shall come out as gold.” (vv. 8-10) And then in verse 14, “For he will complete what he appoints for me.”
    “Immanuel, God is with us”. He is good and He is trustworthy. I can rest in this truth.
    Have a blessed day, sisters.

    • Greta

      I loved that line too!!! Such a cool reminder that he already gave his sign with Jesus!!

    • EarlyBird

      That line! Yes, that jumped right out and smacked me upside the head. Oftentimes I find myself asking for a sign relative to a decision. Instead, I need to remember that His timing is perfect and He will direct my path, sign or no sign. Pray for wisdom and guidance, then lay it at the foot of the cross.

  • Shelli Thevenin

    “If we need a sign to trust God, then we don’t trust God. “ That is a good word.

  • Some time ago, I walked with a friend who had lost his wife.. We talked a lot about many things, death, life, moving on from loss, does the pain ever go…
    I told him my story and explained I could not have got through any of the heartbreaking and ‘life threatening’ stuff if God had not extended His hand of peace, love, grace, mercy and comfort to me…
    My friend said… ‘You are lucky..I wish I could have that. That peace..’
    I told him he could.. ‘Nah, it’s not for me’ he said.
    Fast forward some time later, we met up and he talked about going to his wife’s favorite holiday place, to scattering her ashes there, with their children. He told me, once there, and ashes scattered, as he sat alone outside, he thought, alright God if you are real I want to see a white owl tonight! (These do not live or inhabit where they were) He says he must have fallen asleep because when he woke, there, on the end of his sun lounger sat a white owl..!
    He told his children the next day, and when they said ..’ maybe there is a God’, he replied, ‘coincidence!
    The following night he asked again, and again a white owl sat in close proximity…
    Sadly though, my friend is still on the fence.. using the cop out line, ‘I would say I’m spiritual but…’
    Well but ….
    But God… One day at a time. He heard the cry from the heart of a man struggling to come to terms with his loss, and He answered him.. twice, in his searching that holiday.. God will not leave him nor forsake him He will hold fast till the penny drops for him … That God with us is the truth he ( my friend )is searching for, the truth he needs to hear, the truth of a God, who loves him, and that the sign he really seeks, has already been provided, once and for all, and His name is Jesus. .. Amen.
    Thank you Lord God. Thank you for everything…

    Blessings and love to you my sisters, this cold winters day…xxxxx

    • Rachel Smart-Gargasz

      Praise the Lord for He hears our cries. I am praying for you friend that God molds and softens his heart. God is so good.

    • Jeanna

      Thank you, Tina….

    • Annie

      Thank you for sharing this story. I’m stunned. I also admire your patience with him—all I can feel at his stubbornness is frustration. God doesn’t, though, and He will finish what He started. I pray your friend will surrender his life to Jesus and will lay a strong foundation of faith for his children. I just love His creativity in showing His love for us. He is making all things new!

    • Leslie

      Your friends story reminded me of Gideon! Thanks for sharing it! I hope to hear “the rest of the story” someday❤️

    • Chris Gruhlke

      This made me cry! I have been blessed with signs from God, many times in fact. It was what I needed at the time…but as I’m sitting here now, it is my prayer that my faith will be strong enough to not NEED signs. Feeling grateful for His ultimate sign of love in Jesus. Have a great day and thanks for sharing your story!

  • Anna Chviedar

    It is so freeing to know that Jesus is the ultimate sign we need and are already provided. And this Sign is sufficient for our faith walk. Jesus saved my life in general and continues to save my every day. Trusting God means trusting His character. And I love how 1 John 4:7-10 assures us that God is always love, and the ultimate proof of this is Jesus! I know hard stuff happens to people a lot these days and we can be so weak in doubting the goodness and presence of God. But then there’s the picture of Jesus coming down from Heaven to step into our mess, then there’s a picture of Him hanging on the cross abolishing all death and sin and then there’s a picture of Him sitting on the throne at the right hand of the Father, interceding for us day and night. We are not alone, we are loved, we have a beautiful future that is sure. We LIVE because of the sign of Son that came true.

  • Asking for a sign can be a sign of distrust. But not asking for a sign can be like shutting God out. By rejecting God’s offer of a sign Ahaz rejects communication with God, rejects relationship with Him. But He gives the promise of a sign anyway. And we get to decide whether we will accept Him or reject Him. Fascinating story!

  • Alice Carroll

    We don’t ask our family, our friends for signs or guarantees because we trust them. So what does it say about my relationship with God that this is what I want?

  • Oh I’m so guilty of wanting more assurance, more proof before walking in God’s path for me. I want the decision to be made easy bc I know for certain where it has come from. But Jesus and his Spirit are already with me and that’s all I need to walk by faith.

    • Anne with an E

      Me too, Melissa! “But Jesus and his spirit are already with me and that’s all I need to walk by faith.” ! — love this!

  • There is power in living by faith…

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