While I was serving in Toronto, Elder Call (my trainer) had this little quirk (well, he had more than this one, but this was one of them). Randomly (or so it seemed) he would get overly excited and ask to borrow my camera (he tended to lose his) to take a picture of something (a license plate, a mail box, etc). I was completely confused as to what he was doing for quite a while. I think we were into our second transfer together before I learned what it was. There was something each of those license plates, mail boxes, and whatever else had in common: 444.
One of Elder Call’s favorite scriptures is Alma 44:4 (444): “Now ye see that this is the true faith of God; yea, ye see that God will support, and keep, and preserve us, so long as we are faithful unto him, and unto our faith, and our religion; and never will the Lord suffer that we shall be destroyed except we should fall into transgression and deny our faith.” A little background on this scripture: Moroni and his army are fighting Zerahemnah and they finally have him cornered. Moroni, not being one who enjoyed killing, pleaded with Zerahemnah to surrender. However, Zerahemnah would not give up; even if they left then, Zerehemnah told Moroni that they would return and that was not good enough for Moroni. In their argument, Moroni bore his testimony of the power of God in helping them to overpower Zerahemnah (hence verse 4) and in the end Moroni’s army did force Zerahemnah’s army into a surrender.
I remember one day that Elder Call and I were tracting, knocking doors. Something someone on the street had said had set him off (which was not easy) and he was left in a bad mood. I remember feeling like I should tell him that I had a good feeling about that street. As it turned out, we got no new contacts from that street, no appointments, and no outward success. However, by the time we were done, Elder Call was more cheerful. On our way back to our car, he pointed out a van to me that had 444 in its license plate. That little three-digit number was his “sign” that God was watching over him and that God loved him.
I was reminded of that day a couple weeks ago. I had a bad episode of depression and ended up spending the majority of the day with my friend David. I remember a question that David posed to me that day and it reminded me of this: How does God show you He loves you? For David, it was through rain. When it rained, he was reminded that God loved him. For Elder Call, it was 444. Whenever he saw a price tag or a mailbox with a 444 on it, it was a reminder that God was caring for him. I’ve thought about that question: What “sign” does God use with me to show me He loves me? Not as “proof” per se, but as a reminder on a bad day.
I’m still thinking on it and I’m still not exactly sure. One that I’ve thought of is stars. I can’t fully explain why, but it has to do with a passage in a book called “The Brothers” by Chris Stewart. The book takes place in the pre-mortal life and the passage I’m referring to is near the end. The Father is talking to four of His children shortly before they are born. Naturally, these four have some fears about going to Earth and remembering nothing of Him or their lives before. One of the instructions He gives them is, on clear summer nights, to look at the sky and notice the stars and the moon. He tells them that as they do that they will remember, somewhere deep in their spirits, that they are part of an eternal family and an eternal plan.
I was reading this book back in the fall of 2010, just after I’d come home from Toronto. I felt lonely and confused. I was in a new ward in Provo and my best friends were scattered literally around the country and the world. I read this passage about the stars and the moon while in the Rec Room and then, as it was getting late, I decided to head slowly back toward my apartment. Outside, I took a moment to ponder this passage and I looked up at the sky. It was cloudy and I couldn’t see any stars. I said a silent prayer asking for the Lord to show me just one star. Just one sign of His love. As I petitioned Him, I saw the clouds part just slightly. Just enough for me to see one shimmering star in the darkness. One little light that said, “I love you, Spencer.”
Two and a half years later, I’ll sometimes be out at night after a bad day. I’ll look up at the sky and see maybe only a couple stars… but enough to remind me that there is a bigger plan than what I can currently see. And Someone up there loves me.
PS: I finished this post at 4:44 PM and those who know me know that I don’t believe in coincidence.
PPS: What is your "sign" of God's love for you?