The day the raven visited

Bringing a spiritual perspective to daily life

'Oh God, please! Just give me a sign!"

Have you ever found yourself, as I have, uttering this kind of plea to God? Perhaps we're really just asking for His guidance. In that case, according to the Bible, our prayers will be answered.

As the new millennium approaches, there are people predicting "signs and wonders." Some of these aren't good. Some are even predictions of the end of the world as we know it. A few individuals have already set up camps in the region where Jesus was born, in hopes of being in the right place to watch the end of the world when it occurs.

Recently, as I was reading an article about a doomsday prediction, I got to thinking about the signs and wonders I've seen. There have been many. But they've always given precious evidence of God's love; of His provision for me and for those in my care.

I remember one very special sign from a while ago, which continues to inspire me to this day. My husband and I had a small child and a nice house, situated in a wonderful neighborhood, among other young families like ours. I was not working outside the home, because I wanted to be with our baby. The neighborhood provided much community activity and support.

Then, very suddenly, my husband lost his job. He wanted to relocate. I did not. I prayed to God with all my heart to please, please, just give me a sign of what we were supposed to do. In the meantime, my husband began painting the house to get it ready to put on the market.

One day while he was up on the ladder, I received a phone call from an employment office. They had received my name in regard to a position, and wondered if I would like to be considered. I immediately thought, "Here's the sign I've been asking for!" It looked like we could stay right where we were if I accepted this job.

I rushed out to tell my husband about my "sign." But he was already getting another one up there on the ladder. There, not 10 inches from his face, was a beautiful, big, black bird. Even the noise of the screen door didn't make the bird move. Both my husband and I breathed quietly for a few minutes. Then the bird flew away.

I know now that this bird was probably an eastern crow. But the crows in our area had certainly never come to visit us that closely before. And, because of our great need at that time, both my husband and I were reminded of a Bible story in which the prophet Elijah is told by "the word of the Lord" to go into the wilderness for a while (see I Kings, Chap. 17). "And it shall be," the directive continues, "that thou shalt drink of the brook; and I have commanded the ravens to feed thee there." I felt in that moment that even if we left the neighborhood, God would - in this figurative sense - certainly "command the ravens" to feed us.

We did move, and there were many times that I missed the house and the neighborhood we'd left behind. But each time I started feeling disconnected or afraid, I remembered the assurance of God's love for all of us that I had felt the day the raven had visited. During the years that followed, I often considered these words: "And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten .... And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied, and praise the name of the Lord your God, that hath dealt wondrously with you" (Joel 2:25, 26).

A number of years later, our family returned to that same geographic area I'd loved so much. But by that time, I wouldn't have chosen to miss out on even one of the many adventures we'd had in between.

God is always with us to comfort and guide us. What we have to do is listen for what's often God's very specific response.

A much-loved sentence in the most important book written by Mary Baker Eddy, who founded this newspaper, promises, "Divine Love [God] always has met and always will meet every human need" ("Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures," pg. 494). I can truly say that whenever I've been humble enough to accept God's guidance, one step at a time, I have never lacked for anything good. And that's been enough of a sign for me.

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