things that don’t bode well

a fully dressed swim instructor (or one wearing water wings)

your fitness trainer smoking a cigarette during your workout session

your nutritionist offers you a doughnut, cotton candy or a soda

you catch your financial planner counting on his/her fingers

the person who comes to organize your closets drops her rather large purse, spilling contents from several decades and genres everywhere or

said organizer can’t find her phone in her aforementioned large purse

your tour guide arrives late, (map in hand) because he/she could not find the predetermined meeting spot where the tour is to start

thunder while you are setting up for an outdoor event

a long line at the store with a chatty cashier

any sentence that begins with, “mom/dad, I didn’t mean to and it wasn’t my fault”

or “my teacher wants to meet with you” or  “guess what I signed you up for” or

the words, “some assembly required” or “due to unforeseen circumstances” or

“may be hazardous to your health” or “this is only temporary, but . . . ” or

the words, “lane closures, expect delays up ahead” or the words

“consult your physician before beginning this or any exercise program” or

“results may vary” or “we need to talk” or “beware of dog” or the words

“no lifeguard on duty, swim at your own risk” or (my favorite)

“falling rock zone, proceed with caution”  ( just how cautious do you need to be when falling rocks, ie. boulders are involved?)  or

“freeway ends”  (bail out now)

all these should be clues if you will, a heads up, a red flag, a warning that all may not go as planned or expected.  But do we heed them?  Do we even read the fine print on most things? (I know I don’t or I’d never get anything else done) because pretty much everything comes with a warning now; even clothes, “wash before wearing, colors may bleed, shrinkage may occur” (none of that bodes well; when will the colors cease to bleed? should I buy a size too big to allow for the predicted, possible shrinkage? and I already have to wash my dirty clothes, now I have to wash my brand new, never been worn clothes as well?)  As if shopping weren’t difficult enough already.

so I am constantly confronted by things that don’t exactly bode well, words and warnings surround me at every turn. But which ones do I really need to heed. The Bible has some practical advice about signs and warnings.  “He (Jesus) told them this parable; ‘Look at the fig tree and all the trees.  When they sprout leaves, you can see for yourselves and know that summer is near.  Even so, when you see these things happening, you know that the kingdom of God is near’.”  (Luke 21:29-31)

Jesus also said in Matthew 7:16-20, “By their fruit you will recognize them.  Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  . . . Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them.”

I have learned which road signs don’t bode well for me (road closed, detour ahead) when I am driving and I can learn to recognize God’s signs as well.  He is usually pretty clear.  For example, in 1 John 4:20-21 I read, “If anyone says, ‘I love God’, yet hates his brother, he is a liar.  For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.  And He has given us this command:  Whoever loves God must also love his brother.”

So there are things I can know by observing the signs, whether they bode for good or for the not so good.  Either way, I can proceed with confidence because my God knows the end from the beginning and He goes before me and with me; even through the falling rock zone that I sometimes must travel.  When things don’t bode well, I can still walk forward in faith, unafraid, because all God’s promises bode well for me.

“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me; Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.”  (Psalm 23:4)

“When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; . . . when you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; . . . Do not be afraid, for I am with you;” (Isaiah 43:2,5)

“I make known the end from the beginning, from ancient times, what is still to come.”  (Isaiah 46:10)

” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.’ ”  (Jeremiah 29:11)

sincerely,         Grace Day