Twenty years ago we left our home in New York, packed up a house and two young children and headed west. Jim and I had lived in California when we first married, but since then we had acquired 13 years of marriage and two small New Yorkers.
We had no idea where we would land in California; only that we wanted to return and begin the process of once again making a home, closer this time, to our family members we had left on the west coast.
We soon found that—amid a declining real estate market—a group of new homes were being auctioned for sale. That seemed like a novelty. No real estate agents; no dragging young children through endless homes, keeping their hands off the tantalizing possessions of home owners.
Eleven empty, brand new homes were available to look at, bid on and move into. All were in a neighborhood in the small town of Rocklin—barely important enough for an exit off the freeway between Sacramento and Reno.
But was Rocklin where God wanted us to be? Was Rocklin where God wanted us to raise little Douglas James and Nicole Taylor?
Amid the anxiety of moving small children cross-country; looking at homes in a town we knew nothing about; and having to make a decision within a few days, I was a wreck! I stressed and stewed; fretted, frowned, and ground my teeth. Then, the night before the auction, I did something novel.
I prayed…leaving it all to God; asking that He would make His desires completely clear to us.
The next morning, we left for the auction. I was at ease. We didn’t have clear direction. Rather, we headed for the auction not knowing if we would even bid on a house; much less get one. But I was at ease because I had released the worry to God.
In the car, I told Jim that I had prayed over the decision. Then I confessed I had also asked God to give me a “sign;” something to indicate His will in the matter. Jim proceeded to tease me about wanting signs from God, but I could tell he was relieved to see me so relaxed after my uncertainty of the previous days.
We decided to drive past the homes one more time before heading to the auction. As we neared our turnoff, I began to pay attention to the freeway exits.
“Atlantic Avenue,” I read aloud.
“Hey, it’s a sign!” said Jim.
Still hoping for a clear indication from God, I asked, “You mean, it’s a sign from God because we’re moving here from the Atlantic coast?”
“No,” Jim answered. “I just meant that it’s a sign—you know—a freeway sign.”
I laughed and decided not to take things so seriously.
Then we saw the next freeway exit sign before our exit. The enormous green sign declared:
Jim and I stopped laughing abruptly. These two exits reflected the names of our two children: Douglas James and Nicole Taylor.
God didn’t give us a sign. Rather, He threw freeway exit signs in front of us at 65 miles per hour.
When we arrived at the auction, we purchased a home within 45 seconds of bidding, never hesitating, never worrying that we had made a horrible mistake.
We lived in that home for 12 years before moving three-quarters of a mile away to our present home in Rocklin. This year we celebrate 20 years as Rocklin-ites and thank God for bringing us to this place, filled with lifelong friendships, a church filled with faithful believers and two decades of joyful living.
Jesus told us that “Unless you people see signs and wonders…you will never believe.” (John 4:48)
But throughout the Bible God does show His people signs and wonders. Did God give me a “sign” or were those freeway exits a coincidence?
It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I gave up my worry and asked God to guide our decision. He did.
And it was good.
PRAYER: Heavenly Father, thank you for guiding us. Thank you for providing us with the strength and understanding to see where you want us to go—whether by signs and wonders or the gentle leading of our hearts. Amen.
WHAT ABOUT YOU? Have you ever felt that God had given you a clear sign directing your life?