We have recently witnessed the Lord move in great and mighty ways in response to our requests for signs of encouragement or confirmation; yet many Christians seem to be of the opinion that it is wrong to ask God for signs. But Matthew 7:7-8 very specifically tells us “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened. And Jeremiah 33:3 (NKJV) says ‘Call to Me, and I will answer you, and show you great and mighty things, which you do not know.’ Undoubtedly, anyone who believes or teaches that we’re not supposed to ask God for signs when we need encouragement or to confirm what we’ve think we’ve heard from Him must not know the story of Gideon as told in Judges 6-7.
Since there’s a lot in Gideon’s experience that we can relate to, everyone standing for marriage restoration should read and study his story. We did evil in the eyes of the Lord by failing to put Him first and live according to HIS plan for marriage, and He gave us, our spouses and our marriages into the hands of the devil. So our marriages were invaded by non-covenant persons or other destructive influences and ravaged. Then we cried out to God for help and He sent us someone to tell us about the error of our ways and to tell us that God was with us. But we doubted that; wondering why all of this happened to us if God was with us. And we felt abandoned by God because He had allowed the devastation of our marriages and families. But the Lord promised that He would save our marriages if we’d just rely on the strength He gives us. He even told us that HE would use us to save our marriages and families; but we thought of all sorts of reasons why we couldn’t and doubted that we could do it even though we knew it was what the Lord wanted us to do. But God continued to assure us that He would be with us and that we would overcome the devil and strike down everything that comes against our marriages. So just as Gideon did, it is okay for us to ask God to give us a sign that we have found favor in His eyes and to confirm that we have truly heard from Him. And just as with Gideon, many times even after the Lord has shown Himself to us in such powerful ways, we still feel like we need confirmation, but the Lord will always be faithful to give it the same way He did for Gideon. And God will work in our situations in the same way He did in Gideon’s; He will use means that totally defy human understanding and expectation. And when we need encouragement, God will be faithful to provide that as well, and often before we even ask for it! And the Lord will do exactly what He promises and He will be glorified as the world watches and realizes that God alone could do something so awesome and amazing!
But when we ask God for a sign, it MUST be specific and something we will not be able to doubt came from Him when it is done. Otherwise, the devil will come afterwards and try to steal or destroy that seed of hope and encouragement! For example, I myself have asked the Lord for two very specific communications at very specific times and for very specific purposes when I needed direction or confirmation in the past two months. Both times I knew it would take the hand of God to compel the communication I was asking for, and both times the communication occurred just as requested; and each time, God went even further than I had requested to make sure I knew He was responding to my request for a specific sign. And there was absolutely no doubt in my mind that God had heard me and that He had answered. So we can use the circumstances and manner in which Gideon asked God for signs as a guideline to follow when we need an answer or confirmation, but we shouldn’t take God’s willingness and faithfulness to answer us lightly or take it for granted. And in the same way God is faithful when we ask for specific signs, He will give us signs of encouragement and confirmation when we just say that we need them and don’t ask for something specific. God knows our hearts and when we are sincerely seeking to hear from Him, we know He will give us the answers we seek, because Jeremiah 29:13 says You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Yesterday, one of the FAM Fellowship members shared a testimony of how the Lord answered her when she needed and asked for encouragement and direction and it really blessed some of the other members, so I asked and received her permission to share it here as well. Remember, God wants us to ask for signs, and when we ask with sincere hearts and sincere motives, He WILL answer and show us great and mighty things and we will most definitely be blessed and encouraged! So I want to thank MNO (Member Name Omitted) for allowing me to share the following testimony to encourage others and give the Lord the glory He SO deserves!
Today at church, my pastor told an awesome little story that just spoke to my spirit and I knew instantly that God wanted me to share it with all of you. And I hope it brings the same hope and encouragement to you as it did for me to continue standing with God for the restoration of our spouses’ relationships with the Lord and with us and our families.
Yesterday, circumstances occurred that left me second-guessing whether God truly was calling me to stand for my marriage. For the first time in a long while, I gave serious thought to giving up. After a long and fairly sleepless night, I got up and went to church, praying and asking God to give me some sign of encouragement and direction. Well, as God ALWAYS does, He is faithful in hearing and answering our prayers, and today He answered my prayer through my pastor’s sermon. My pastor started out his sermon with a story about a mountain climber who was scaling a large hillside when one of his contact lenses fell out. Being nearly blind without his contact lenses, the climber sat down on a nearby ledge and contemplated his predicament. Without the lens, he would not be able to continue on and get to the mountain top. As he sat there, he began to talk to God about how he needed that lens to continue climbing up and how disappointed he was that he would have to turn around and go back down without reaching the peak. Well, as he sat there looking down at the ground, he noticed the sun glinting off a nearby object that, upon further inspection, was moving very slowly. As the climber bent down to take a closer look, he discovered that an ant was carrying his contact lens on its back. God had used an ant to help the climber out of his predicament! (Isn’t that just like God — to use the simple to confound the wise!) The lens was intact and unscratched, and the climber reached down, washed it off, put it back in his eye, and continued on up the hillside to the peak, thanking God all the way. And when the climber got home, he drew a picture to always remember that day. But it wasn’t a picture of the incredible scenic views that the Lord had allowed him to see that day; rather, it was a picture of an ant. And underneath that picture, the climber wrote the following (from the ant’s point of view): “I don’t know why I have to carry this burden. I can’t eat it and it’s awfully heavy. Still, if it’s what you want me to do, Lord, then I will carry this burden for you.” The ant didn’t understand why he had to carry an object that was so heavy and, to his limited understanding, of no useful purpose or good.
Isn’t that how we sometimes see our stand for marriage restoration? Sometimes, from our limited perspective, we have no idea why we have to carry this burden, and it “seems” so heavy and for no useful purpose or good. But then, at just the right time, God lifts that burden from us, and the miracle of restoration appears! And as we look back, we can see that God knew exactly what he was doing all along, and that it was Him who gave us the strength to carry that burden and to persevere through faith until we gained the victory!
“And this is what the Lord says: ‘Restrain your voice from weeping and your eyes from tears, for your work will be rewarded,’ declares the Lord. ‘They will return from the land of the enemy. So there is hope for your future,’ declares the Lord.” (Jeremiah 31:16-17)
Be blessed and encouraged, and don’t give up!