We often hear Christians say that they have asked God for a sign to prove to them that they are making the right decision. It sounds very spiritual, but is it a practice that God appreciates?
Many biblical characters have asked God for signs for all kinds of decisions. Gideon was one of them, he asked God to use dew to confirm His will. “Gideon said to God, “If you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken, behold, I will put a fleece of wool on the threshing floor; if there is dew on the fleece only, and it is dry on all the ground, then shall I know that you will save Israel by my hand, as you have spoken.” It was so; for he rose up early on the next day, and pressed the fleece together, and wrung the dew out of the fleece, a bowl full of water. Gideon said to God, “Don’t let your anger be kindled against me, and I will speak but this once. Please let me make a trial just this once with the fleece. Let it now be dry only on the fleece, and on all the ground let there be dew.” God did so that night; for it was dry on the fleece only, and there was dew on all the ground” (Judges 6:36-40 WEB).
God also uses signs, but it is generally in the sense of a “symbol”. “I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it will be a sign of a covenant between me and the earth” (Genesis 9:13 WEB). “You are to undergo circumcision, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and you” (Genesis 17:11 NIV).
Sometimes God uses “signs” to prove to those who do not believe in Him that He is truly God and that He is really speaking. Just like in the case of the 10 plagues of Egypt. “It will happen, if they will not believe you or listen to the voice of the first sign, that they will believe the voice of the latter sign” (Exodus 4:8 WEB). Moreover, the word “sign” is often associated with the word “prodigy” or “miracle”, because it was usually something very spectacular that confirmed the authority of the person who did it or the message that accompanied those signs and wonders. “Yahweh brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand, with an outstretched arm, with great terror, with signs, and with wonders” (Deuteronomy 26:8 WEB).
When the prophet Samuel told Saul that he had been chosen by God to be king, he did not believe it. So, to convince him, God inspired signs to the prophet. “Let it be, when these signs have come to you, that you do what is appropriate for the occasion; for God is with you” (1 Samuel 10:7 WEB).
In short, signs are often a confirmation that a person needs to believe. If we ask for a sign, it’s because we have a doubt. But God wants His children to walk by faith (Hebrews 1:38). “He sighed deeply in his spirit, and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Most certainly I tell you, no sign will be given to this generation”” (Mark 8:12 WEB). Jesus loved to heal the sick, but it would seem that He was a little annoyed when people asked for miracles as a sign of His authority.
God is not against signs, He complied with the request of Gideon and many others. But our Heavenly Father prefers that we obey His word. He prefers that we make our decisions based on our faith in God and on what is written in the Bible. For example, it is written in 1 Corinthians 6:14-15 that a child of God should not be associated with, including getting married to, a non-believer. If a Christian begins to have feelings for a non-believer, they do not need to ask God for a sign whether that person is good for them or not.
In Exodus 3:12 (NIV) the sign of God even comes after obeying. “And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.”” God asks us to obey His word, and then He will confirm our good decision. The sign comes after obedience. That’s faith!
So, can we ask God for a sign to prove to us that this or that person is the right one to marry? We can, and perhaps He will send us one. But God prefers our obedience in faith. To find out if this person is the right one to marry, you can also ask wise questions, discussing the answers with the Holy Spirit, in your time of prayer. Does God want me to get married? Have you followed the precepts of God while dating? Do we want to get married for the right reasons? Does this person have the criteria that God has established in His word? Have we considered the advice of our family and those around us? If we can answer all these questions positively, we do not need a sign.