I absolutely love how God shows up at times when we least expect it. I have to share this story…if you are experiencing frustration over what seems to be a “hopeless situation” or think “you might have misunderstood God’s direction,” my prayer is that you will pray and leave it with Jesus. Allow Him in His time to show you His hand…all the while understanding…He may call you to take some needed action. If He does, He will equip you for the task. Here goes the story….
Well over a year ago Bill and I received a letter in the mail from a realtor asking if we would be willing to sell our home. At the time, it was not even on my mind to sell, move, etc.…but because my mother was very sick with a debilitating disease…which would eventually take her life…I prayed and asked God…”Do you want us to sell our house and move so that I can help with my mom and dad?”
I wasn’t sure of the answer at the time but I decided I needed to explore the sell and not be attached to “things,” my house being one of them, not to mention friends and neighbors. If we sold, we would be moving away from Columbia and closer to my family. I walked the path prayerfully, and to be honest, with a heavy, very heavy heart. I love where we live, our church, our lifelong friends, etc…but I wanted to be obedient, if this “out of the blue letter” was from the Lord!
To make a very, very long story short…after 7 months of preparing to sell…going through two home inspections and all that is involved in the sale of a home, at the last hour, at the last minute of the day, I was dressed and headed to the closing on the sale of our home…with a very heavy heart…but feeling I was being obedient to God and to my family to move and help take care of my aging parents.
At that moment I received a call from our attorney telling me that the “sale had fallen through!” The buyers had backed away claiming that the land behind our house was being sold and they didn’t want to buy not knowing what the property was going to be used for. The realtor made the assumption that we knew the land was being sold but had not disclosed this information, which was not the case.
To be perfectly honest….I was so shocked….I was speechless and motionless. First, I had NO IDEA that the property directly behind our house was being sold. Second, I had spent a year preparing myself mentally to move…so much so that we had property and new house plans drawn. That afternoon the footings for our new house were scheduled to be dug.
The strangest feelings in the world came over me. I thought I had heard from God…move…don’t be attached to things or people…give back to your parents…help your sister….move. Sacrifice…trust Me…to do a NEW THING. And then, all of a sudden everything changed. I had so many questions for God.
Did I hear You wrong? (How many times have you asked that question?)
What is going on behind our house with the property we were told was in the “flood plain” and could never be built on? What about the money spent on the new house plans, etc.? How come I didn’t know the property was being sold?
Fast forward….My mother’s illness progressed. She died this past April and my dad suffered a sudden stroke in February. I can now see that I would have been in the middle of not only moving, but being displaced and building a new house. God knew all that was going to happen way before it did. God is sooooo good.
He also knew that my attention and time would need to be fully focused on spending time with my mother and helping with my dad. But all of this caused me to question, “If I heard Him right or was I way off in my following God and His direction?” Now that time has passed, God has shown me specifically that HE used the potential sale of our home…to test my heart…and my commitment to “things” or to “HIM”.
I am reminded of the story of Abraham. God asked Abraham to sacrifice his son but it wasn’t his son that God really wanted. Look at Genesis 22:12, “He [God] said, ‘Do not lay your hand on the boy or do anything to him, for now I know that you fear God, seeing you have not withheld your son, your only son, from me.’” He was testing Abraham’s love for Him. Even though God didn’t ask me to sacrifice one of my children, I can look back now and see that the potential sale was used by God as a big test for me…….of obedience in following Him even if it meant uprooting and relocating.
We recently had another affirmation by God as Bill and I went to our neighborhood meeting……after the meeting I could have cried from JOY and Relief. I was living and witnessing my prayers being answered and I didn’t see it coming. Our neighborhood was coming together over grave concerns of how the sold property behind our house was going to be used.
For the longest time…I felt that most of our neighbors might not be as concerned nor as affected as Bill and I would be over the land not only being sold but over what would go there. A year ago, after the debacle over the sale of our home, I just had to pray that God would intervene and take care of us and the value of the property where our house sits. I realized it was really very much out of my control, but I knew I served a God who was bigger than all the potential problems. His purpose was never for us to sell our home at that time. A test for me for sure.
The meeting was an astonishing and amazing continual answer to my prayers about our home. Not only did I discover that our neighbors were concerned, but surrounding neighborhoods were as well. I realized we have several neighbors who are not only educated and qualified to make a difference, but have been working diligently on everyone’s behalf! I am not the expert at all, but I am affected and a concerned property owner. I learned so much from listening to others at the meeting.
God is good. No, God is great. Understand that sometimes we can take steps of faith and obedience and find that all of a sudden things come to an ABRUPT HALT. You may not have heard God correctly but you may have. It could all be a test by God for you to see your willingness to follow HIM no matter the twists and turns. He causes all things to work for good for those who are called according to His purpose (see Romans 8:28).
We might not always see His hand in the moment but we can always trust His heart.
Sometimes God takes us to “lefts, rights and stops” in our lives just to teach us to continually look to Him and not to our “own understanding” (see Proverbs 3:5-6). In all of this that is exactly what He has taught me! My trust in God has increased, my prayer life has been enhanced…and my willingness to say “yes,” even if my heart is heavy….knowing that God has me and can make things better than what I can humanly see or understand.
My prayer for you today is found in Ephesians 3:18-21. I pray that you “May have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” May we all then be able to say, “Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”