Ever wonder if God’s trying to tell us something? How do we know what He’s trying to say? Do we ask for a sign?
Martin: Welcome to Heart & Soul, I’m your host, Martin Zerrudo and today we’ll be talking about signs. What are they? Why do we pray for them? Should we pray for them? And how do we read signs that happen in our lives? The format of our episode today will be slightly different. It’ll be one-on-one or heart-to-heart conversation with our minister of the gospel for today, brother Rod Bruno. Hi Brother Rod.
Rod: Hello Brother Martin. Glad to be here.
Martin: Thank you for coming. This is our first one on one. Usually we have a panel, we have a minister as well. But this was a very meaty episode, we wanted to devote as much time as we can to getting guidance from the minister of the gospel for this topic. Brother Rod, let’s jump right in to it. Why do people pray for signs? Why is it something that we do for our prayers when we’re looking for answers?
Rod: I’m sure there’s a vast number of reasons but if I were to ask for a sign, it would be because I would be following a biblical example; that it happened before with biblical figures of the Scriptures where they ask God for a sign and the sign was given. It served as a sort-of certification that what they were going to do, what I was going to do, what I wanted to do, who is it that I would consider for whatever purpose I was asking a sign…
But we have to be careful because not all signs are from God. There are those who…there are biblical scriptures where people say that they had a sign, saw a sign and God says that, “The sign was not from Me.” They were lying. They were not being honest about seeing a sign, saying, “the sign was from God.” So if you’re gonna look for a sign, you have to be careful. The best thing probably would be to pray. Whatever you’re asking for, whatever you would like, pray. But to ask for a sign, that’s…..I wouldn’t say do not do it, I would just say be careful.
Martin: And there’s a lot of indecision, right? If you’re asking for a sign, then you’ve already accepted that you’re kind-of in a spot where you’re unsure of what you’re gonna do. As members of the Church of Christ, is that wrong to feel unsure about a lot of different things? Or because we’re unsure about things…Is that a good place to start when making a decision? Just not really knowing what to do so you’re kind of asking for some sort-of thing to see?
Rod: Well that would seem to be the case. But if that is the case, it’s just being human, getting through the battles, getting through the struggles and the biblical figure’s name was Gideon. He was to go to battle. And he asked for a sign from God that he would be victorious. And his sign was: If we are to be given victory, let there be dew on fleece but all around the fleece, it would be dry on the grass on the ground. So he slept and there was dew just on the fleece. And all around, it was dry. And you figure that would be a pretty good sign but he begged the pardon of God and he said, “Can I have another sign?” And he said, “Let the fleece be dry and let the ground around the fleece be filled with dew.” And then the next day, it was as he asked. The fleece was dry and all around the fleece was dew.
Was he doubting or was he questioning the promise of God that he would be given victory? In the Scripture, it doesn’t say that. But he was given these signs that he asked for and he was given victory when he fought in battle. So there’s a biblical example of someone asking for a sign and being given the answer and the sign and then being given the fulfillment of what he was asking the sign for. But as I mentioned, there is a scripture where there is false teachers and false speakers and false prophets who would ask…who would say they saw a sign–
Martin: Where would these signs come from, if not from God?
Rod: Well, there’s a verse in the book of II Thessalonians if I’m not mistaken where it speaks about the enemy of God causing great signs to deceive the people. Definitely not from God, but from Satan the enemy of God, to deceive. What we have to love, what we have to cherish, what we have to hold on to is the truth.
Martin: So then I guess the next question is: How do you differentiate if it’s coming from God or coming from a place that’s meant to do you harm?
Rod: Well, it can’t ask you…the result of the sign cannot lead you to violate the teaching of God. Obviously. I’ll give you an example again from a story of a sister I knew a while back who was looking for well, hoping that someone would find her to be her…she would be his wife and he would be her husband. And she asked the sign of 3 roses. I mean, who gives 3 roses? Not just 3 roses. White roses. And some fellow came by with 3 roses and they were white. And that, today is her husband many, many years later. That sign was not detrimental to her obedience to the commandment of God because the one who had the 3 roses was also a believer, a worshipper of God. It’s hard to say…It’s hard to live your life based on signs. You will get confused. It’s better to pray. Simply ask.
Jesus said, “Ask what you will in My name and My Father will give it to you.” There’s another matter of trust there with a capital T. It’s not “kind of trust God”. It’s just “put your trust in God.” Surrender to it. If He grants it to you, “thank you”. If He doesn’t grant it to you, “it’s not time yet, I go on.”
Martin: And so, it’s a great thing that you brought up that story because a lot of people, they do ask for signs specifically when it comes to matters of the heart. I guess because they’re reading other peoples’ intentions, their body language, we’re not sure if they want the same things that we want. So why is it, when it comes to that, we’re so reliant on it, that of course, we’re praying for somebody but we’re asking for signs. “Is this person right for me? Should they–”
Rod: Maybe because they saw too many movies.
Rod: You know? Love movies, romances…They say there’s the ‘soulmate’ of every person. I think maybe every 10 people could be a soulmate. Every 10th person in your life maybe be your soulmate. There’s not just 1 out there. There’s a lot of good people who could be your soulmate who know how to act, who know how to be a good husband, who know how to be a good wife. But then, if it’s every 10th, there’s 9 that won’t be. Right? So sometimes you find the perfect person for you.
Martin: When you met your wife, was she the 10th person? Or was it immediately like, ok…?
Rod: I hate to say but I was crazy over her.
Martin: Where did you guys meet?
Rod: We met at one of the congregations where I was assigned in Bel Air. Makati (Metro Manila Philippines). She was the niece of one of the head deacons, Bro. Boy Capistrano. And they set up a blind meeting. And when I saw her, I was…
Martin: …not blind.
Rod: …not blinded. No
i was…knocked off my feet and we had dinner and we talked and never looked back from that day.
Martin: What was your prayer that night after you met her and you had dinner?
Rod: After I met her? It wasn’t right after I met her, it was…when we got closer and more serious and we had already discussed marriage. That’s when we started to pray, both of us together. A special devotion. Not to call it off, but to make it stronger. I wasn’t asking for a sign. I just wanted it to be blessed because I was so much in love that even a sign wouldn’t have deterred me.
Martin: You felt like God had answered your prayer then and there?
Rod: Uhh, I guess. I mean, He brought her into my life. Everything was right. She was a member. I was a member. I was able to look for someone at that point in my ministry and there was nothing that said, “this is wrong”. If everything is right, this, like the song goes, has gotta be right.
Martin: How many years now happily married?
Rod: Twenty seven.
Martin: And now as a father, what kind of advice would you give to your children or those…because they’re in the age now to meet those that they would hopefully eventually marry, what advice do you give the youth of the Church when it comes to signs and matters of the heart, because they may not always get that 3 white roses or that knock you off your feet meeting. They’re always praying for signs to find something like that. What’s your advice as a Father to those young people of the world?
Rod: When it comes to courting, that’s one thing. There’s other things that people ask for signs and one of the most probably, often asked sign is for someone…if he’s going to enter the ministry. And I would always revert back to the words of our Lord Jesus Christ in the book of Luke when He says, “Pray to the Father that laborers be sent out because the harvest is plenty, but the laborers are few.”
For me, that’s already a sign. So you just take that up, hold it up, there’s your sign. Just read the sign and know that you’re needed instead of waiting for leaves to fall into a pattern that says “Join the ministry!”
The sign is there. The words are there, to pray for them. If you have desired to help people in a very special way, there’s your sign; the word of God. But there are still those who ask for signs. What if the sign came and you missed it? That’ll be too bad, right? You ask for the perfect woman and the sign would be that she would bump into you and knock you into the lake. But, instead of bumping into you, she went around you. But she was the one! What about that? I wouldn’t put my trust too much in signs. I would put my trust more in prayer.
Rod: “But I’m praying, and I’m asking for the sign in the prayer.” That’s fine. But are you ready to take no for an answer? Are you ready to second guess if the sign came? Or if you missed the sign? Or…”that was sort-of like the sign that I asked, maybe that was it!” And then you get all spun around. I would rather be more attentive to a request, a humble request. And I would always remember, I would teach the young people too. A request is just that, it’s a request. You’re not commanding God. It’s a request. So there’s an opportunity that it won’t be granted. Are you ready to receive that? Or if you don’t receive it, are you gonna be weakened in your faith? You have to think of all those things before you ask for a request. Will I be able to handle the answer ‘no’?
Martin: Somebody said, “If you’re praying for a sign, you don’t really get a yes or a no answer, then God’s kind-of telling you that its your decision, that it’s up to you.” Do you put any stock in that?
Rod: M mm. Who said that?
Martin: I thought it was a minister, but thinking about it now after our conversation, I’m not sure if it was…
Rod: Yeah, because if a minister said that, I’m sure there’s truth behind it because you wouldn’t have said that having truth behind it.
Martin: But does that sound right to you? If you don’t get the sign, then it kind-of falls under free will? It’s up to you to decide what you think?
Rod: Well, if you don’t get the sign, then what do you do? You make your own choice. Am I right? So he’s right. You have to choose yourself. You didn’t get the sign, so which way you gonna go? You gonna go that way? You gonna go left, you gonna go right? Well, whichever direction you go, it’s because you chose. So, was there guidance from a “sign”? No there wasn’t. So it’s completely and utterly your choice, maybe with guidance from mom and dad or maybe guidance from the minister or guidance from a friend. But you’re making the choice. So yes, there’s every reason to believe that’s accurate.
Martin: You mentioned the ministry and the signs that sometimes brothers are looking for and I’m sure there are some brothers who are listening right now asking those similar kind-of questions. When you were in your ministry, the early years, were you also praying that was this the right decision? Did you ask for a sign to know that it solidified your decision to stay in the ministry? Were there others that you knew who left because they thought the sign was for them not to stay?
Rod: Well I remember very distinctly, when I first met the Church, I met the Church ’cause I was really looking. I had a fear that made me look. And it reminds me of Proverbs 1:7 “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge” and that’s so true. If you have that fear of the might of God, and the promises of blessing and the warnings of danger, you’re going to fear the danger and want to cling to God.
Martin: What was that fear that you had at that time?
Rod: Not being saved.
Rod: You know? I’m afraid. Let me find the right place to be to be safe. And I….I remember praying very hard that I would be guided. I don’t wanna be lost. I don’t wanna be deceived. ‘Cause I was studying a couple of religions at that time. A lot of people were trying to help me. People believe that they found it. Another person said that he found it. Another person said he knew which way was the way and that’s 3 people with different ways. So I definitely wanted to be sure about what I was doing. So I had a fervent conversation with God.
Martin: What did you ask?
Rod: I just said, “Don’t let me be deceived.” “Please guide me.” And here I am. A member of the Church of Christ and proud of it. Very, very proud.
Martin: So when you were in the ministry, were you always 100% sure? There wasn’t a moment when you prayed for a sign that this is where you were meant to be?
Rod: No. Never asked for a sign for the ministry. I just…loved it. From Day 1, loved what I was learning. You have your ups and downs like everyone does but most of them were up. I never used a sign as verification of truth.
Martin: ‘Cause there are some brethren who…they do do that, they hold on to it that–
Rod: Have you ever asked anyone who asked for a sign if they got their sign?
And what’s the percentage of how many say yes?
Martin: Probably most of them say no.
Rod: No, probably most of them say yes.
Martin: Really? Rod: Yeah.
Martin: It’s almost like self-fulfilling prophecy? Is that what you’re alluding to? Rod: Maybe.
Rod: Maybe. But the truth doesn’t steer you wrong.
Rod: Here’s your sign: Is she Iglesia Ni Cristo? Is he Iglesia Ni Cristo? Are they single? If we’re talking about love, courtship and marriage. Are you single? Is it a relationship that is based on what we learned from the teachings of God? If everything is right,
Martin: …don’t really need a sign.
Rod: The sign is that everything is right. Everything is in accordance with the teaching of God. I guess you can call that a ‘sign’. But for you to ask the sky to fall…”Hmm..didn’t fall today. Maybe tomorrow.” Or the stars to shoot all over the sky?
Martin: There are some brethren who have been holding on to signs like that because they feel like “If I just believe long enough and show God that I’m willing to wait, I’m willing to be patient that that sign will eventually happen.” Sometimes they wait for years for certain signs like that.
Rod: Like I said, that would be great. God bless you. Can I get a specific? Any specifics on the request for a sign? It’s hard to say that all signs are the best way to go because you have to be careful of people who say he saw the sign, you know? What if a person came up to you and said, “I had a vision. I had a sign from God that you have to ignore the teachings of God, matter of fact, don’t obey them and not just not obey them, do opposite of them and leave the Church.” You know? “That’s the sign I had!” Ok, now…what do you think? The Bible teaches us that Christ is the Savior of the Church. So, your sign is telling me that I should leave the Church. Hmm…I don’t think your sign is from God. So if you’re asking for it, fine. I guess a sign, you can verify it through cross-checking it with the Scripture by going to see your minister and ask him, “Is this a sign from God?” Or “What would be a fair sign that I should ask from God?” The only one that I could think of off the top of my head, I’m sure there are others, is by a fleece.
Martin: Haha, and pray for dew.
Rod: And pray for dew. There’s no commandment to ask for a sign. I don’t know of any commandment that I’ve ever been taught or have read that we are commanded to ask for a sign. But you can. Like the apostles said, “What are the signs that we will see when the end is near?” In Matthew 24. And Jesus said, “When you see these things know that the end is near.” So those were signs. The signs of the times. But a special sign for you, just you, from the Creator of the universe so you know if you’re going to marry Joe or Steve or Allen or Marie or Anne…You know, you would think “I’m not that important to make a request for a sign when He’s basically running the universe.” But the beauty of it is that He is, that He will listen. Because that’s a promise that He said He would do through Christ. “Ask and you shall receive.”
Martin: Brother Rod, thank you so much for joining us, this was a great one-on-one. Actually, before we even got to the end of the questions, a lot of your answers actually answered a lot of them. And I guess, it’s really just that simple. If you want something, then ask. If you want a sign, then ask. But whether you ask for a sign or ask for something directly, just be prepared for God’s answer.
Rod: I agree 100%.
Martin: Well, I’m Martin Zerrudo. Thank you so much brother Rod for joining us here today.
Rod: My pleasure brother Martin.
Martin: We’re just people talkin’ love, talkin’ love and relationships on INC Heart & Soul.