Sunday, June 1, 2014

15. In God's Time and Way

(This is a series that was adapted from my life-story, Child of Mine, which is at sweetlybrokengirl.blogspot.com.  On this blog, it starts at the bottom of the June posts with “Like a Child.”)

                        “Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s mighty hand, that he may lift you up in due time.  Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. 
                        Be self-controlled and alert.  Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour.  Resist him, standing firm in the faith, because you know that your brothers throughout the world are undergoing the same kind of sufferings. 
                        And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.  To him be the power for ever and ever.  Amen.”  (And the glory, I might add.)  (1 Peter 5:6-11)
   

            It’s been three years from the time I began writing my life story to the time He answered my prayer for a house.  Over three years of waiting on Him and learning about myself.  And I want to share His answer, but I don’t want to focus on it too much.  And I’ll tell you why. 
            When we thought that we were going to get a different house many months ago (a deal that fell through a week before closing), I thought that I had my book ending.  I was going to write all about God’s loving providence, all about His goodness in how He answered us.  But in the process of writing this book and in wandering that large, dry desert, I realized that it was never about the answer, about the ending.  It was always about the journey!  What’s more important than reaching any “ending” is learning to find God’s tender, loving care - His mercy, grace, providence, goodness, and love - in the journey, in the “not yet.”  Because that’s what this life is: The Great Not Yet!
            There will always be another trial, another time of waiting, and another heartache during our time on this earth.  And if we set our eyes on the “end” - if we live like, It’ll all be okay when God answers -  then we will miss out on the deep, abiding joy and peace that come with resting in His goodness and love during the journey, during the pain.
            This life is about the journey that we take with Him.  It’s about what effect we let the trials and the pain, the blessing and the answers, have on our relationship with our Heavenly Father.  All of these should drive us closer to Him.  All of these are opportunities to praise His name and to glorify Him.  And all of these times - the good and the bad, the answers and the “not yet” - should be witnesses to others about what a good, loving, faithful God we serve. 
            And so this book is not about the end.  It’s about the journey.  But since God has finally remembered us and you have taken this journey with me, I will share this much about His answer:  It has totally blown my mind!  It has humbled me even more and made me kneel down at His feet and say, “I am so unworthy for such goodness and blessing!  But Thank You!” 
            When He brought the answer to us – when He opened the door – He did so clearly and completely.  His answer was so obvious that I realized that I could have saved myself so much headache and grief if I had just waited prayerfully, patiently, and with my eyes open, instead of being consumed with fear that He wasn’t listening or that I might miss His sign. 
            It’s really neat how it all happened, too.  We had our eye on this one place for a little while, but it was way out of our price range (which is incredibly low in other people’s eyes).  Yet we couldn’t get it out of our minds.  We had driven past it several times, but we wouldn’t go in to see it because there was no way we could even afford to look.  Well, one day, we drove past and the sign was down.  It must be sold, we thought.  And we put it out of our minds.
            But one morning a few weeks later, I woke up from a deep sleep at about 5:00 a.m. with the burning desire to know for sure if it was sold or not.  I had to know, even though it was too expensive for us to even consider anyway.  And so I went to the moldy back room, jumped on the computer and looked it up on-line. 
            And I just about fell out of my seat.  Because not only was it NOT sold, but the price had just been dropped twenty thousand dollars the day before (or that very morning, I can’t remember which).  And so I quickly sent an email to my realtor asking to look at that house that day.  And after I hit “send,” I found an email from him already in my in-box that said, “Check out this house!”  And it was the one that I was already looking at.
            Well, we set up a visit for that day.  And after walking through the house, we felt very confident about trying to pursue it.  (But it was still about twenty thousand more than we could afford.)  And we realized that the sign out front wasn’t gone; it had blown down and was lying on the ground.  And we noticed that this happened several times as we drove past to look at it.  (Hmm?  I wonder what – or Who – caused that?)
            Well, as we drove away from the showing, my head was spinning and I was confused about the whole house-buying process.  So I called my mom to see if she could meet us at the house, if the realtor was able to come back and open it up again. 
            And it just so happened that my mom (who is usually incredibly busy or who could easily be at work an hour away or in Florida for an impromptu trip) was just minutes away from the house and was available to meet us.  And then when she called her husband who is a home remodeler, he was in town, too.  So I called the realtor and he turned right around and came back. 
            And when my mom saw it, she said, “Make an offer now!”  I didn’t even realize that we could make an offer at the showing (that’s how little experience I have with buying houses).  And so we did!  We made an offer for twenty thousand less than the asking price.  It was the day before Easter!
            And just a few days later, we got word that they accepted our offer.  It was as though God said, “You know the other house that you were supposed to get?  I can do much better than that.”  And He did.  He took our wish list and added an extra bedroom and a tiny “den” and a much bigger, nicer yard.  And it was only a mile or two from where we were renting. 
            And over the course of however-long-it-was, He closed a forty thousand dollar gap (well, actually, an eighty thousand dollar gap because it was initially listed for a lot more) which brought the house down to exactly the same price that we knew God told us not to spend more than.  Oh, yes!  He is a good, faithful God! 
            And He is so, so gracious and merciful!  Despite my incredible ability to despair and gripe.  Because even after all that I had learned and even after I had seen how clearly He makes His answer known, I still managed to find plenty to panic about as we waited for this short sale to go through.  When it took too long and when we faced twists and turns, I managed to freak out all over again and to lose all hope in His ability to work it out. 
            Thank You, Lord, that I didn’t get what I deserved!  Thank You that I got what I didn’t deserve!  And thank You that’s it’s not about what we “deserve” or earn; it’s about You and Your unconditional goodness and love.  Seriously, about the only thing I did right during that wait was to not run out and buy a different house.  And that’s just because we had no ability to!  So thank You that You forced us to wait, or else we would have really missed out on Your blessings!
            [And I have to take a moment here to say thanks to our friend, Randi.  I know that God used you to help us get the home and the mortgage.  Thanks for all you’ve done.  And also, congratulations to you and Leigh on the birth of your fourth son.  (Hee-hee-hee!)  A houseful of boys . . . boy, are you in for it!  (Ha-ha-ha)  Oh, and are you going to go for the girl?  (Ha-ha, totally kidding!)  No, it’s great.  It really is.  Just start praying now, Lord, protect them from themselves!  Congrats again.  That’s awesome!]         
            I am so humbled to have seen how faithful He is and what He is capable of, if I wait on Him and obey when He reveals the next step.  (Even though I failed so horribly bad in waiting with a godly spirit.)  It has increased my desire to know Him more and to draw ever closer.  And it has challenged me to try to live more deliberately and conscientiously with Him and for Him, to glorify Him with my life.  He has so captured my heart and my attention that all I can do is say, “He is a good, loving Father, indeed.” 

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