Saturday, July 30, 2011

God Works in Mysterious Ways, But he (or she) DOES Work—if You’ll just Follow the Signs

Are you one of the millions of people that believe that God answers prayers in splendid fashion? Are you expecting your answer to be delivered to you with fireworks and a neon arrow pointing to a flashing sign that says “here’s the answer to your prayer”? If so, you’ve probably missed most answers to your prayers. God’s answers, you see, are usually far more subtle than that. To decode God’s answer to your prayers, you may have to do some work—you may have to follow his signs.

What are God’s signs?

God’s signs are subtle but, with a little practice, you can easily learn to spot and to follow them. This is the method that I use:

·       Follow the coincidences. If you run into a friend that you haven’t seen in 20 years, it means something. Talk to your friend. Ask questions. Find out why God put her on your path. She may lead you to the answer to your prayer. Special note: the more unlikely the coincidence, the more likely it is to be an answer to one of your prayers.

·         Follow your hunches. That little voice inside your head telling you to go here or there or to take this or that action is God’s voice. Listen to it.

·         Follow the unplanned twists and turns on your path. If you are driving to a meeting on one part of town but a traffic accident reroutes you to another part of town, take time to ask why. Notice all the scenery along your route. If anything piques your curiosity, take time to investigate it.

If all of this seems complicated, don’t worry. God can combine signs in such a way that you cannot doubt that they are coming from a higher place, that they are an answer to your prayers.

My Search for Answers to a Medical Condition

Here’s an example from my own life to demonstrate how God uses signs to answer your prayers. But first, I need to give you some background:
Since I was a child, I have suffered periodic attacks that resemble a neurologic event. My attacks include light-feeling limbs and heavy-feeling head, double vision, dizziness, vertigo, loss of coordination, and slurred speech.

Pretty scary, huh?

Yet I have had at least three MRIs and at least three EEGs in my lifetime, and none of these tests have revealed any neurologic abnormality. So I was left with only one conclusion—my attacks were psychological, probably panic attacks. When I was younger, these attacks did not bother me much. In fact, they tended to hit me when I was not in the midst of a crisis or stress.
But then came menopause and my attacks became worse, were triggered by minor incidents, and seemingly took control of my body and of my life. For the past ten years, I have struggled with an onslaught of these attacks, which my doctors diagnosed as a panic disorder.

Yet, I have never been comfortable with this diagnosis. My attacks were so far from the typical panic attack…but I could not find another explanation. So I tried to tame my attacks with anti-depressants and counseling, but these methods never helped for long.
Over the years, I made some feeble attempts at finding another cause for my attacks. A few years ago, I was sure that my attacks were caused by Chronic Hyperventilation Syndrome, until a smug specialist in heart/lung conditions informed me that my hyperventilation was intermittent, not chronic. Recently, I read that a certain vision condition, which I have, can cause dizziness and anxiety. I got a new eye exam and new glasses which helped my vision but did not help my attacks.

These failed efforts, as well earlier visits to other specialists who, essentially, told me that my attacks were “all in my head” deeply scarred me. I became ashamed of my attacks. I felt that if I were causing these attacks (even subconsciously) I should be able to stop causing them.
How God Answered my Prayers

While at work one day, I had a severe attack. I could not walk, had lost my coordination, and was slurring my words so badly that no one could understand me. I have had these attacks at work so many times that my co-workers don’t get freaked out anymore. Occasionally, I will have them call a member of the medical team at work to check my blood pressure, but that’s about it.

This particular day Bob, a co-worker and a member of the onsite medical team, was in the break room when I had my attack. He had never witnessed any of my attacks before and was concerned. After trying, and failing, to get through to any other members of the medical team, he called the paramedics. (I did not know that he had done so until they came into the room carting a gurney and carrying their medical equipment).
After listening to my efforts to talk, they said that they had never seen a panic attack present itself with these symptoms. They advised me to let them take me to the hospital, but they left the choice up to me.

For some reason, I said YES. (I never go to the hospital because of my attacks).
They transported me to the hospital and a nurse named Renee (which happens to be my middle name) came into the room. She asked me some questions, but I badly slurred the answers. Renee said, “Your symptoms sound like my vertebrobasilar migraines.”

I did not know much about migraines and asked her some questions about this condition. I had never considered migraine to be responsible for my attacks. Heck, I didn’t even think that I had migraines. Weren’t migraine headaches extremely painful, nausea-producing events? Although I have had headaches throughout my life, the pain was the dull, aching kind. And what did this have to do with my strange neurological symptoms anyway?
After being released from the hospital, I got on the Internet and read about migraines. I found out that a migraine is a neurological condition, not simply a bad headache with nausea. I found out that you can have a migraine episode without having a headache (although I had noticed that about 50 percent of my attacks included a headache, I never considered the headache to be part of the attack). I found out that migraine symptoms can include fully reversible neurological deficits.

And, for the first time, I found my exact symptoms listed under vertebrobasilar migraine (also called basilar type migraine and Bickerstaff Syndrome.)  Last week, I went to a neurologist who is also a headache specialist and he confirmed the diagnosis. I suffer from a rare migraine disorder that manifests itself in neurological symptoms. My neurologist has put me on preventive medications which should lessen the frequency and the severity of my attacks. Prayer answered.
Following Signs

How did this miracle happen? It happened because of a series of strange coincidences and because I followed the signs.

-          I had my attack in front of Bob, who had never witnessed any of my attacks before.

-          I had my attack at a time when Bob could not reach any other member of the medical team.

-          Bob called the paramedics without asking me first. (If he had asked me, I would probably have said “no.”)

-          I said “yes” when the paramedics asked me if I wanted to go to the hospital, something unusual for me.

-          When I arrived in the emergency room, the nurse (who just happened to bear my middle name) feels the urge to tell me that my symptoms resemble her migraine symptoms.
Just think of how many of these events had to happen with perfect timing in order to bring me to the hospital to meet this nurse. Can anyone just call this event a fortuitous coincidence? I can’t and I won’t. I call it following God’s signs for the answer to my prayer.

Yes, God does work in mysterious ways—and so does his miracles.


  1. I too believe that God works in mysterious ways, and shows signs along the way. I've seen too many miracles happen in front of me! Thx for your beautiful page! God Bless! ;)

  2. Thank you so much for your kind words, Kelly. It's truly awe-inspiring when you follow the signs and see them come together and create the miracle that God is giving you.