I just read somewhere that the number 17 is considered bad luck by some Italians, as the Roman numerals for the number can be rearranged into the symbol often written on Italian tombstones. I find this particularly amusing because I’m Italian and was born on the 17th, yet I’ve never felt more grateful, blessed, and alive. It’s funny how much emphasis we put into man-made symbolism and signs.
As a Christian, I believe God is in control of everything and that nothing happens by coincidence. But I’m also cautious to not read too much into circumstances, making them something they’re not. Trying to maintain that balance, I admit I often miss “God signs” right in front of me. Worse, I sometimes second-guess the voice or direction I’ve sensed, questioning its origin and authenticity. When these moments happen, I’ll often ask for a sign to be sure of God’s message.
My God is merciful and patient! I realize that by human standards it would be quite exhausting to have someone ask you to repeat yourself in multiple ways to clearly communicate something, which is what I sometimes impose on my Savior. So, this past week I can’t blame Him for going above and beyond to make His point clear to me. After several revelations came regarding a particular issue in my life, 17 signs of confirmation followed … in one week. I know this because I began to journal them. I was astounded as various people said the same thing to me, knowing nothing of my issue. Yes, even with my stubborn nature, the message was thankfully received loud and clear, and I proceeded in obedience.
The Request for a Sign
While some might point to a wicked heart or generation as one in need of a sign (as Jesus references in Matthew 16:4), I also consider the various prophets and servants of the Lord like Gideon and Hezekiah, who being in favor with Him, asked for a sign as a confirmation of His presence and commands. I think of the rainbow and other signs representing His continued presence and ever-lasting promises in our lives. I don’t think signs, or our natural desire for them, in themselves are offensive to God. I believe these requests, as others directed toward our Savior, can demonstrate our reliance on Him and represent a submissive heart and will be responded to as such. I’m grateful for a God who hears much more than just our words.
Quicker to Recognize
I don’t need a sign to know that my ever-patient Father is paying closer attention to me than I have been to Him. And I’m grateful that He doesn’t consider 17 to be an unlucky number. Next time, I’m shooting to catch His message by at least the 15th time.
Joanna Sanders is a graduate of Villanova University and Moody Theological Seminary. She’s also the founder and head writer of Colossians46.com, which provides biblical content support, writing, and editing. Most importantly, she is wife to Geoff and mom to three godly men-in-training. Her blog name “The Landing” comes from the account of the Ark resting on the mountain, creating a settled place — a landing — for man to start over, which echoes her new life in Christ.