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Preserved – Handwriting on the Wall

Like others who have enjoyed the excitement of working in broadcasting, I have also experienced the discouragement of being fired from an on air radio broadcasting job.  I remember being shocked and disappointed the last time it happened in 2003.  Even though I knew that broadcasting could be unstable, I remember my mixed feelings of confusion and frustration at the termination.   The ratings were good and despite my best efforts to find out, I was never given a reason why.

Shewanda Riley
Shewanda Riley

Two questions that repeatedly bothered me were whether there were any warning signs and if so, how did I miss them?    However, I realize now that God gives me warning signs every time there is a major shift (like being fired).  For whatever reason, I sometimes chose not to pay attention to the handwriting on the wall.

The phrase “handwriting on the wall” refers to the biblical story of Daniel who was able to prophetically interpret and gave an interpretation of the writing on the wall for King Belshazzar.  Daniel was called upon by the King to give insight on some puzzling handwriting that none of the King’s spiritual advisors could understand.  Because of God’s anointing on his life, Daniel gave a correct reading of the wall.  Daniel 5:17 reads, “Then Daniel answered the king, “You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else. Nevertheless, I will read the writing for the king and tell him what it means.”

It is especially during troubling times that we should not only read the handwriting on the wall but also the punctuation marks that accompany it.    Some of those punctuation marks are:

  • Period (.) – Signals that there is the end of a thought but also signals the beginning of another.  It’s been said that when God closes one door, another one is already open.  He wants us to walk boldly with faith toward that next open door and not waste time trying to open the one that has been closed.
  • Question Mark (?) – Completes a question.  It’s fair to have questions because they start a dialogue between us and God.  Some of us only talk to God in our prayer time when we question not getting what we wanted.     However, the end result of asking questions won’t always be to get a quick answer from God.
  • Ellipses (…) – Indicates that words or paragraphs have been omitted.  Usually, the omissions are because the words are not necessary or important to the overall meaning of the sentence.  In his infinite wisdom, God will omit people, jobs, and circumstances out of our lives because they are no longer necessary.  They are not part of God’s plan for our future.

I encourage anyone going through a season where you want questions answered about why and find yourself getting frustrated because the answers don’t seem to be coming, to check the handwriting and punctuation on the wall.  God may have already given you your answer.


Shewanda Riley is a Dallas Fort Worth-based author who can be reached at lovehangover@juno.com.

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