Signature of God
May 28, 2017 03:55AM
● By Bonnie Lyn Smith
Stopping at the mailbox on the way home from running errands, I noticed a package. Curious, based on the accompanying card, I looked inside. I’m pretty sure I couldn’t breathe for about twenty seconds.
Before I tell you what was in the package, I should confess that I am a "deep feeler" personality. I feel on several planes at once, so I saw this object on emotional, intellectual, spiritual, and physical levels all at the same time.
Right there, seemingly from the grave, was
my late father’s signature,
captured on a small charm hanging from a chain.
His full name. The way I remember it on his invoices, permission slips, checks. Sprawled out in tiny font right in front of me. A piece of Dad. It hurtled me back decades. Decades. Suddenly, I was eight years old again, and that script had authority, significance, security.
Then I was mid-twenties, and there it was with the accompanying voice in my head:
“Doll, now make sure you invest this for the future. You’re going to want to pay attention to…”
I couldn’t move for about ten minutes in the car. Tears bubbled up, sobs came, lead weighted me down in the Dad-sized hole within my heart.
“Dad, is that you? Dad?”
I know it’s silly. I didn’t expect him to hear or respond to me, but for a fleeting few moments, almost all my senses felt keenly aware of the jolt and the memories packed deeply within that simple visual: his handwriting sprawled across metal.
Then: “Oh, God. God. Jesus.”
That wasn’t me swearing. I truly called out for God in that moment. I knew He was there; He was in this, and He was ready to wrap Holy arms around me and let me nestle my head against His comforting chest and under His wings.
Psalm 91:4, ESV
He will cover you with his pinions, and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness is a shield and buckler.
That’s about as far as I’ve processed this so far. But I will tell you that if my own late father’s signature could evoke so much emotion—so much love—imagine what our heavenly Father’s “signature” could do if we’d only ask for eyes to see it.
I have a hummingbird that comes to see me several times a day in my backyard. Sure, okay, let’s be honest: He comes to sip from my feeder, not to chat with Bonnie, but I call him “Frank” (even though an amateur ornithologist friend let me in on the fact he is really a “Francis” because of the lack of ruby on her throat). And when Frank flits on by, I feel sure God just signed the atmosphere between Frank and me with His great big finger.
Romans 1:19-20, ESV
For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.
Psalm 8:3-4, ESV
When I look at your heavens, the work of your fingers, the moon and the stars, which you have set in place, what is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you care for him?
I have a dear friend who has seen miracles of provision and guidance during a perfect storm of evil in her life, and she regularly reports to me how God “signed her day” (my words) with His presence:
My youngest son has made some incredible developmental strides within the context of a few disabilities in the past year. Sure, we’ve had years of several therapies and he has matured in age, but if you ask me, nobody but God takes a chronically anxious heart and speaks sustaining calm. Nobody else whispers in the ear of an eleven year old exactly what he needs to do to help regulate himself. And in times of stress, he has had amazing cognitive clarity—and he responded in a way that would please God with his grace, compassion, and strength of character. He has endured. Oh, there You are again:
After God appeared to Moses in a burning bush (talk about a signature!), He explained who He was and what He was going to do through Moses. He even confirmed it with a sign: “when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
In case Moses didn’t catch on quickly, God provided confirmation and reassurance, as if to say:
“This is how you can recognize where I signed my promise, where I was with you, how I was present.”
Exodus 3:11-15, ESV
But Moses said to God, “Who am I that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the children of Israel out of Egypt?” He said, “But I will be with you, and this shall be the sign for you, that I have sent you: when you have brought the people out of Egypt, you shall serve God on this mountain.”
Then Moses said to God, “If I come to the people of Israel and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ what shall I say to them?” God said to Moses, “I AM WHO I AM.” And he said, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘I AM has sent me to you.’” God also said to Moses, “Say this to the people of Israel: ‘The LORD, the God of your fathers, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob, has sent me to you.’ This is my name forever, and thus I am to be remembered throughout all generations.
God did this over and over again in the Bible, letting His people know how to recognize His presence and purposes. He let Samuel the Prophet know when Saul would come his way so he would anoint him the first king of Israel. What I am calling “God’s signature” was a way for God's people to know they were walking in His will.
Who or what has I AM brought your way? How has He signed His name within your circumstances?
An answered prayer?
A visit with a dear one?
A good Samaritan lending aid?
The delight of creation?
If you are unsure how or where to see evidence of God’s presence in your life, a good starting place would be to ask Him to help you see where He is at work. I guarantee if you ask for an open heart and eyes to see, you will soon begin to marvel at all the places He comes alongside you. He longs to delight us!
Isaiah 48:12, ESV
“Listen to me, O Jacob, and Israel, whom I called! I am he; I am the first, and I am the last.”
Author Bonnie Lyn Smith writes about mental health advocacy, special education, faith in the valleys of life, drawing healthy boundaries, relational healing, renewing our minds, walking with a Holy God, and much ado about grace. Join the conversation at Espressos of Faith.
She is the author of Not Just on Sundays: Seeking God’s Purpose in Each New Day and the founder and editor-in-chief of Ground Truth Press, a book publishing company.