A couple of weeks ago, my son came to me with the urgent plea to move into a house. Sometimes I hear God in people’s voices. This time I heard it in my son’s. It was confirmed by the difficulty that I was having building a combination home office desk / grocery aging shelf.
Groceries that are shelf goods may have coronavirus on them for up to seven days (steel packaging), but more likely in the three or four day range is safe. No one has really measured how long the coronavirus lasts enclave finish paper, they just give the number for cardboard.
So there is space that is unused above the makeshift desk that I have. So why not build something that could serve as a desk as well as a shelf. But as I’ve started to make the pieces to assemble I have run into all sorts of delays. And as I looked down in my heart, I wondered if God was trying to communicate to me that I wouldn’t need to make the very little space that we have in the apartment more efficient than it already is.
I am not saying that a lot of good could not be done by simple decluttering. But I’ve just never managed to make work having a space that is both a project space and a living space.
My son gave me a timeline of a month to make the move happen, in which I also heard the Lord saying “it’s time”. Immediately, I thought of the 2005 movie “Sahara”. There is a scene where Dirk, Ava, and Al are in a car in an old abandoned Mideastern/African style city being chased by a bad guy in a helicopter. Dirk is driving. Al, the weapons expert, is in the backseat shooting at the helicopter. They are heading straight for a brick wall, and Dirk says to Al “I need a door now”. Al turns to face forward, and uses the machine gun to trace an arch in the bricks. And they burst through the wall. I can relate to that scene, in knowing how it feels to be headed towards brick wall, at speed.
So I took it, two days later, to the small men’s prayer group at the church where I fellowship. One of the men, said that he believed with me that God could make it happen, and encouraged me to be bold.
So in boldness, I asked the Lord to lead me to the house where we were to move in the coming week. I believe He did. It had all the things that we really needed. A place where we could set up living. A place to put the clutter while we sorted through it. And it was nice, very nice … too nice.
I looked for something that was a fixer-upper, smaller, something that would be really cheap. But the reality is, I can’t even afford really cheap. I have no savings. When I retire, I will have just Social Security, and one small annuity. And I am a couple weeks away from full retirement age. I could work for four additional years to increase my Social Security, and I am willing to work as long as the Lord gives me strength. But I feel that my strength is mostly gone. Still I take things one day at a time, and have done so for the last five or six years.
So I had settled on this needing to be an outright gift, merciful gift, from God. So why would He pick such a nice house for me? I did protest to Him “I am not worthy of that house.” He agreed with me. He said it was his desire to be generous, and merciful.
So how is He going to do it? I knew this would be a complex situation where I would have to be talking to Him all the time. When I came back with the flyer for the house, my son’s response was “Oh, yeah”. Even had a very masculine feel to it, with stonework and beams.
So the next thing that we were moved to do was to write letters to the owners. All God said to me was tell them your story. I did, but the biggest question had to do with what was I asking them to do. I didn’t even know if they were Christians. And even if they were Christians, was I asking for a donation, or what? If I was asking for a donation, on what grounds? My good deeds? My tragic story? The number of people it would bless?
Face it, many Christians look for Return On Investment (ROI) because their churches never taught them to talk to and listen to God. So they substitute the best that they have (and it really is the best that they have, numbers/quantity or emotions/quality). So I needed someone who would talk to God. Recognize that He owns the house, and ask Him what He wants to do with it, and what part they are to play. But, I didn’t even know if they were Christians.
So I wrote the letter, praying that The Father would draw them to Jesus, if they weren’t Christians, and speak to them about the house and their part even if they didn’t know to listen.
A week later, we got the letter back unopened. It was undeliverable, because they had a PO Box.
I knew one, maybe 2 people who might have the means to by the house and gift it to us. One I didn’t want to ask, because he was both raised in the church, and hurt by hypocrites in the church (and now feels that all Christians are hypocrites, with few exceptions.) The other was a godly man, that I lost track of 15 years ago, after he came into a financial windfall, and changed careers to serve God full time.
I asked the Lord if I could buy a Lotto ticket. But, I knew that I had to talk to the person whose number is in my phone, and who I talk to every month or so. So, I did. I should mention that all along the way the Lord had me doing little things that would line up with moving. Usually something every day. And there were temptations of other houses that came, but there was only one house in that first week.
So in the conversation that I dreaded, because I feared rejection, I called. I had prayed that the Lord would have given him a dream or something, to prepare him. I asked if the Lord had co,mmunicated anything about me to him. He said that the Lord had only communicated with him a few times in his life, and that he didn’t really recognize it until years later. Then he asked why did I ask. So I laid out the, the brick wall, the door needed, the house, the very, very, nice house. And he told me all the bad experiences that he had with loaning money to friends, and even though he no longer drives, he wouldn’t sell his car to a good friend of his because he didn’t have the money now. I told him that a loan would never work. That I couldn’t pay it back. I was asking if the Lord had communicated with Him about making it a gift.
That was ridiculous. He told me what I needed. I needed to lower my expectations, quit coddling my son, clean up the apartment, and be content where I was. He even told me that most men want to give up their house and move to an apartment, and I was already there. He gave me his best, truly. But all that he had was advice.
My heart broke. He is clueless as to why the Lord gave him all that money. I am not saying that he should buy and gift the house to us. It is just so sad.
Then the Lord reminded me of a passage in Galatians 6, through a direct question. “Have you ever asked me what you should be doing with your money (big picture)?” I have had stable employment, and a good salary. I assumed that was so that I could be responsible in my obligations, and meet the needs that I could see. I would pray about individual requests for money. And as Holy Spirit prompted me to give in various ways, I would respond. But the very thing that I was saying that he so sorely needed, I was guilty of myself. Gal 6:1
“Brethren, even if anyone is caught in any trespass, you who are spiritual, restore such a one in a spirit of gentleness; each one looking to yourself, so that you too will not be tempted.”
Today we found out that someone put an offer in yesterday and it was accepted. What do we do? Can God disrupt an accepted offer? Absolutely. So we are back to listening. And time grows short.