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On Faith: Signs from heaven are all around

June 25, 2011|By Mark Wiley

Since you are reading this, it means you were not called up to heaven last month and the world did not end. The pastor who made the prediction about the world ending last month now says he made a mathematical error. I can understand making a math mistake. One of the reasons I became a pastor was to avoid ever having to work on a mathematical problem ever again.

But even if he was wrong on his timeline, the deeper truth is that all of us are looking for signs from heaven to give us guidance, purpose and hope. We miss most of the signs, of course. Signs from heaven are rarely found where we want them to be. Nor do they say the things we expect them to say. I think we miss much divine guidance because we expect God to behave in patterns that fit our own expectations and needs.


God is bigger than what we imagine. God's affection and grace is deeper than what we experience or truly comprehend. God moves in ways we do not expect, in ways we are not ready to embrace. In order to see the signs from heaven sometimes we have to be willing to change how we live on Earth.

Here's a personal example:

Our family was playing miniature golf in Big Bear. The course was old. There were no elaborate, modern or entertaining golf holes. I think this place was here before the ski resorts! The place was in disrepair. The tree roots were so big they had become a new set of obstacles on the course. There were real sand traps, mud holes and chasms in the fairways.

But my son, who never met a miniature golf course he didn't like, was having a blast. I was not having fun. I was losing. Losing! Me! At miniature golf! That's like Ben & Jerry's losing in an ice cream match. My entire family was beating me. I was complaining. I was whining. My only consolation was that this was a terrible miniature golf course, so it didn't really count.

But somewhere around the 15th hole, there was a sign nailed to a pine tree. The sign was probably as old as the course, but it had been maintained.

The sign read: "It's not the ball. It's not the putter. It's not the course. It's you."

This has become our family mantra. I offer it to you. It will save your life. It will save your family's life. Whenever one of us gets too self-centered, too whiny, or too concerned about blaming others, someone will say, "It's not the ball. It's not the putter. It's not the course. It's you."

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