If you ever find yourself traveling north on I-95 from Savannah, Georgia, you will encounter many signs and billboards along the way, each pointing travelers to a particular destination or attraction. This particular stretch of highway introduces drivers to an unusual character named Pedro. Every few miles (and sometimes every few feet) another billboard featuring a beaming Pedro advertises “South of the Border,” a tourist trap just before the North Carolina state line. Over the years, the quirky character and his brightly colored billboards have become as well known as the amusement park itself.
Everywhere we go in life there are signs. Their purpose is to show people where to go. No matter what you are looking for—gas station, fast food, local dry cleaners, or department store—you can find it if you follow the signs. Sometimes, signs even urge us to do things that we wouldn’t normally think of doing or even want to do.
Jesus described two types of signs to His followers in Matthew 16:4, the sign demanded by the Pharisees (proof of God’s power) and the sign of Jonah (clear instructions to carry out the will of God). Jesus rebuked the Pharisees for looking for a sign of proof. Instead, He emphasized the importance of a following God without “proof” of His power.
Day in and day out, God provides signs—reminders pointing in the direction He wills us to go. The key to understanding the will of God in our lives comes from learning to recognize the signs. If we truly wish to follow what God has in store for us, we must follow His signs. Do you know what to look for?
God’s signs are often subtle, and we must be alert to catch them. Peter tells believers to be sober and vigilant (1 Peter 5:8). The term vigilance describes staying awake and keeping watch. Peter learned this lesson well when Jesus told his disciples, “Keep watch and pray, that you may not enter into temptation.” When the tired men fell asleep Christ promptly rebuked them. They were not vigilant. We must remain alert for the signs God has for us.
In Galatians, Paul told his readers to “walk circumspectly,” constantly aware, observing our surroundings and noticing everything. We need to take the blinders off, get out of our own little world, get out of the box, and see what is going on around us.
Have you ever been driving somewhere and missed your turn because you were not paying attention? This is how we often miss the signs God places before us. If our minds are preoccupied, it is easy to miss his direction. What happens when we miss the sign or miss our turn? Hopefully, we turn around. If not, we end up lost in the maze of life.
God’s signs are usually not flashy—accompanied by a big voice and flashing neon lights. Instead, they are subtle and easily missed. We must remember that God spoke to Elijah—not in wind, fire or earthquake, but in a still, small voice. When He called Samuel, He used that same quiet voice in the still of the night, while Samuel was asleep. Thankfully, even as a child, Samuel was more alert than most. God will not slap us on the forehead like the familiar commercial, and tell us, “You should have a V8!” He quietly gives us a sign. If we miss it, it’s our fault.
God’s signs are always spiritual, so we need to remain acceptable. Paul told the Romans to, “present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God” (12:1b). Holy, surrendered living is a natural bi-product to being alert, sober, and vigilant. And this lifestyle makes us sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit.
During my time in the United States Air force, I was stationed in Okinawa. Like the States, Okinawa had many signs along the road. Though I sometimes understood the gist of what the sign was advertising, I didn’t know what the sign said, because I didn’t know the language.
When a Christian is not in proper communion with God, he doesn’t understand God’s signs because he no longer understands the language. We must stay close to the Lord in order to understand His directions for our lives.
God’s signs are always serious. Too many times we miss his direction because we fail to take the situation seriously. This is evident in a lack of availability. Other things begin to take precedence over the things of God, the things that God wants for us in our lives. Family, friends, jobs, sports, hobbies—we must not allow them to rob God’s time. When our priorities are out of order, we begin to think things such as, “I don’t have time right now,” “God will tell me again later,” or “I can do that anytime.” God wants us to be available to Him constantly.
As drivers pass the North Carolina state line on I-95, a forlorn Pedro informs them, “You missed it.” How often do we miss the signs that God has placed before us because we weren’t paying attention? We must remain alert, become and stay acceptable, and be available at all times.
Only then will we be able to follow God’s roadmap for our lives. His signs are everywhere, but if you are not careful, you’ll miss them.
About the Writer: David Amburgey is the pastor of Baxley FWB Church, Baxley, GA.
Want to visit South of the Border without leaving your living room? Visit www.wikipedia.org and search for “South of the Border” for more information about the attraction, along with a gallery of humorous Pedro billboards.