Published on June 8, 2021

Following signs is a challenge throughout our lives

By Shirley Prihoda
The Bulletin

This story is a humorous look at signs. It’s not limited to billboards with half the letter missing, but also to those we attach to our car bumpers.

For example, take the fish we put on the back of our cars. Not live fish, the fish symbol that shines for all the world to see that we are followers of Christ as we cut them off in traffic.

Or the “God Listens” one we attempt to explain to an unbeliever. Of course, for effect, we drop our voice three octaves, and make God into a three-syllable word. We come across like a vinyl siding salesman desperate for a sale.

Sometimes posted signs help when the language is unfamiliar. That is unless you are in a country whose alphabet looks cursive but bears little resemblance to ours. For brevity’s sake, we will go forward with countries using an alphabet we are familiar with.

Let’s say we’re in Mexico and looking for a pharmacy. We could sound out the words farmacia or medico and grasp that it was a pharmacy, or some type of medical professional.

If you’re an immigrant, or a visiting international who has been thoroughly indoctrinated to obey all posted signs in America, you just may have a problem with our road signs.

The newcomer lands at Bush Intercontinental Airport and rents a car to travel to Brenham. Having been instructed that Americans are quite serious about their road signs and have placed uniformed people along the roads to ensure they are followed, he purposes to follow them to the letter.

All seemed well until he turned onto Highway 290. That’s when acceleration began to take on a new meaning. In desperation, and to calm his racing heart, he quickly pulled into the parking lot of what looked like a commercial business. His commitment to obey all posted signs was failing him as he attempted to decipher the business’ sign that read, “Clo ed du to Ha vey.”

I am fully convinced God likes signs.

Remember the two stone tablets? I can clearly picture God telling the people He rescued from slavery in Egypt to follow the signs that would lead them to two mountains. When they got there, He would have more signs posted, and they would have a decision to make which way they would go. On the surface, it would seem obvious which one they would take, since one road led to blessings and the other to curses. He had invested a lot of time in getting them to that decision point in the road.

Because my mind thinks in East Texas vernacular, here’s how I picture God telling them about their choice of the two mountains.

“Choose up sides and get up them thar’ mountains. Make some noise and get as many as you can to come a runnin’ to the right mountain. I’ll be a warnin’ them if they choose the wrong ‘un, it ain’t gonna’ go well with them or them thar kids! It’s time to choose sides, are you for Us, or agin’ us?”

I like this paraphrase, but you may want to read the original in Deuteronomy 27:12-26.

The same two mountains in Deuteronomy still beacon us to “Choose you this day who you will serve.”
Equally clear, I can hear my mama’s voice: “Shirley Jean, if you would just listen and do what’s right, you could keep yourself out of a lot of hot water!”

That’s a true sign.

Living our life as a sign that points the way to blessing goes much farther than trying to impress someone with how many verses we can quote or setting them straight about doctrine.

This happened to me on my first Christmas as a new believer. With my new-found love in Christ, I was enjoying Christmas carols in a way that I never experienced before.

I was singing along with “The Little Drummer Boy” as he played his drum for baby Jesus when a family member pointedly told me there never was a Little Drummer Boy.

Were they right?

Yes. Could they have read the signs that I was a new believer and have waited until after Christmas to slam my new faith? Certainly.

When you’re looking in the rearview window of life, the signs that were posted along the road of your life are clearer.

(To contact Shirley, please send emails to john.bulletin@gmail.com or write to The Bulletin, PO Box 2426, Angleton, Tx. 77516)