What’s in a sign

So Gideon said to Him, “If now I have found favor in Your sight, then show me a sign that it is You who speak with me.
Judges 6:17

“When you know that something’s going to happen, you’ll start trying to see signs of its approach in just about everything. Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren’t signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rain squall. I’m not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won’t want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.”
David Eddings

“Is not the gospel its own sign and wonder? Is not this a miracle of miracles, that ‘God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish’? Surely that precious word, ‘Whosoever will, let him come and take the water of life freely’ and that solemn promise, ‘Him that cometh unto Me, I will in no wise cast out,’ are better than signs and wonders! A truthful Saviour ought to be believed. He is truth itself. Why will you ask proof of the veracity of One who cannot lie?”
Charles H. Spurgeon

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(the sign in the clouds of perhaps a thunder cloud brewing / Julie Cook / 2015)

We are sign people.
We always have been and will most likely always be such.
We have looked to the skies, to the heavens, to the earth, to the depths, to the seas, to the wind, to the fire, to the mountains, to life and to death. . . you name it. . .
since the beginning of time we have looked for. . .
A sign. . .
A warning,
A signal,
A clue,
An indication,

Some sort of information. . .good or bad. . .

I’ve been living my life, as of late in my car, driving the backroads, the main streets, the highways and the interstates as I’ve been making my way to Dad’s.
2, 3, 4 times or more a week.
Back and forth from here to there.

I’m pretty certain I know every billboard, advertisement, road sign, speed marker, hiding spot for every State Patrol within a 70 mile shot.
And yet today, on my way home, on a lone and isolated stretch of interstate there was a small hand painted sign tacked to a tree which sat a ways back from the busy and perilous roadway, which was new to me and my sweeping driving vigilance.

“The End is coming soon,
be sure not to miss it”

Now we’ve been seeing signs stating information such as
“The End is Near”
“The Rapture is Coming”
“Jesus is coming”
“Are you ready?”
On and on and on with such predictions, omnitions and bold assumptions being posted for decades.

Signs that are hand painted to those professionally printed. . .
Signs posted on stakes in the ground at the end of road junctions, signs hung on telephone poles, signs held by the “faithful” . . .
This as I recall the famous song of the early 70’s. . .
“Signs, Signs everywhere a sign
blocking the scenery, breaking my mind. . .”

So this particular little white sign with red painted letters should have just been another blip
on the radar on my road-sign weary mind. . .
But yet it wasn’t.
There was something that made me want to do a double take, to actually stop, being able to read its red words while digesting them more slowly rather than swallowing them hard and fast within the 1/10th of a second exposure I had while racing along at my near 80 mph clip.

It wasn’t the first half of the sign that struck me, “The End is coming”, but rather it was the latter half, the “be sure not to miss it” half which made more of an impression.

“Now that’s an odd thought” I mused as I merged right toward my exit.

When THE end does come, which I’m thinking means Jesus appearing. . .
That’s to be something, I would think, which will be really, really, really BIG.
Something brilliant and spectacular. . .frightening to some, while overwhelming to others.
As in loud, triumphant, mind blowing, earth shattering, boat rocking, out of this world EPIC!
“How could anyone who has eyes and or ears miss such a display?! Miss it, really???
I practically snorted aloud with my smug and incredulous rhetorically silent questioning.

And then it hit me. . .

What if it is actually subtle, quiet, unassuming?
Wonder if one could really miss it?
The End that is. . .
Maybe, just maybe. . .instead of playing the role of the faithful who are all too assuming and therefore a bit jaded in our “waiting”. . .
maybe we should be more active, more vigilant, more attuned. . .watching, listening and waiting. . .
Not like the Henny Pennys among us who dash about frantically wailing that the sky is falling, but rather more subdued perhaps even a bit somber as we listen more closely, chatter less while putting down our clanging gongs and beating drums. . .silently,reverently. . .
stopping, pausing, waiting, watching and listening. . .

The Lord said, “Go out and stand on the mountain in the presence of the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by.”

Then a great and powerful wind tore the mountains apart and shattered the rocks before the Lord, but the Lord was not in the wind. After the wind there was an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. After the earthquake came a fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire came a gentle whisper. When Elijah heard it, he pulled his cloak over his face and went out and stood at the mouth of the cave.

Then a voice said to him, “What are you doing here, Elijah?”
1 Kings 19:11-13

Signs

“When you know that something’s going to happen, you’ll start trying to see signs of its approach in just about everything. Always try to remember that most of the things that happen in this world aren’t signs. They happen because they happen, and their only real significance lies in normal cause and effect. You’ll drive yourself crazy if you start trying to pry the meaning out of every gust of wind or rain squall. I’m not denying that there might actually be a few signs that you won’t want to miss. Knowing the difference is the tricky part.”
― David Eddings

“Think of the fierce energy concentrated in an acorn! You bury it in the ground, and it explodes into an oak! Bury a sheep, and nothing happens but decay.”
George Bernard Shaw

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(the signs of things to come in this black oak tree, a myriad of forming acorns / Julie Cook / 2014)

Sitting out on the back deck yesterday evening, something up in the nearby oak tree caught my eye.
“What in the world?!” I hear myself asking out loud to the cat.
Ok, so my asking the cat ‘what’s up in the tree’ is for an entirely different sort of post–let’s just stick to the current question at hand—and that happens to be what’s up in the oak tree.

Thinking I know the answer to my own question, I dash inside searching for the camera—remember, it’s never where one needs it, when one wants it.
Finally locating and immediately grabbing said camera, I zoom back out to the deck in order to zoom in on the tops of the tree.

Yep, I knew it—the tree is loaded with acorns.

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“And that means what?” you’re wondering. . .
It’s a sign silly.
“A sign?”
Yes, as in a sign, a prognostication, perhaps even a harbinger.
“A harbinwho?
Harbinger—as in an ominous foreshadowing of things to come.
Of course I suppose it doesn’t have to be all that dark and sinister—it can be a heralder or announcement of something maybe positive to come—

“Such as?”

A hard winter or not a hard winter.

“Hummmm. . . ”

I have noticed a couple of wooly bears.
“Wooly who’s?”
Wooly bear caterpillars–those prickly black and reddish caterpillars which make their presence known this time of year.
They’re harbingers too you know.
As in harbingers of a bad winter.

However I suppose it is only the middle of July. . . Who wants to think about let alone chatter about harbingers and winter when it seems most of us are still trying to forget this past winter ?!
And anyway, in case anyone was paying attention, St Swithin’s day was Tuesday, July 15th.
As in:

St Swithin’s day if thou dost rain
For forty days it will remain
St Swithin’s day if thou be fair
For forty days ’twill rain nae mair.’

All of which means that it was hot and sunny here on Tuesday. According to St Swithin— it’s going to be hot and dry for the next 40 days!
Do you have any idea what that’s going to mean for my plants and my water bill?!?!?

As a former girl scout, I do think it is always best to be prepared. . .
One certainly never knows when the weather is going to change.
Keeping watch for the harbingers and signs of impending change is most important. . .

And now if you will please excuse me—I need to go out and check on those bulls across the street. . .if they’re laying down, you can count on that needed rain!! St Swithin or not!