I was driving Chiara to school the other morning when I noticed a thought for the day on the message board at the local Episcopal church. It said:
What if God is waiting for you to send Him a sign?
The first time I drove by, I smiled at the cleverness of the message and thought about how often we humans demand visible signs of God's love, interest, attention, existence. I don't know what we expect -- perhaps flashes of light, sky writing, rose petals falling from the clouds -- but we expect something. Instead we get quiet, silence, what seems like nothing to our finite minds, even if there are subtle signs present all around us in the ordinary details of our lives.
When I drove by the same sign later in the day, the message started to sink in a little deeper. I found myself pondering it as I drove home, turning it around in my mind. I liked it and I wanted to explore exactly why I liked it, especially since I usually don't have much use for church message boards, no matter how clever the quote.
I liked it because as soon as I read the message I knew that, despite being clever, it was also true. God is always patiently waiting -- for us to pray, for us to trust, for us to listen, for us to believe so deeply that our very lives become a sign of His love.
Unlike the human demand for a sign -- I'll believe if you...get me this job, cure my illness, give me a baby, sell my house -- God's waiting has no conditions attached. He waits. Has waited since before time began. Has waited since before we began. Will wait until after we are long gone.
Just the other day, Chiara was crying because she thought she had done something that would upset me. After a difficult few minutes, I hugged her and said, "There is nothing you could ever do that will make me love you less. I will love you for all time, no matter what."
And as soon as I said it I knew that the kind of love I was talking about is the kind of love the Father has for each one of us. There is nothing we can do that will make Him love us more or less than He already does. Unconditional love. Unconditional acceptance. Still, I'm sure he'd appreciate a sign now and then.