Not everyone has visions of sugarplums dancing in their heads this Christmas season. Some are facing desperate situations. Some feel their last shred of faith has unraveled. Some have little hope. Although what I am going to share may seem domestic and mundane, it was a very real demonstration to my weak faith that God is not limited by any circumstance. He is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we could ever ask or think.
I have related this to many friends over the years, and decided that I would put it on the blog in case someone needs to hear it today. It’s not Christmasy at all…the story took place in the sweltering, sticky, slug-filled summer of Missouri. But, God, who gave the first great Gift in that “bleak mid-winter” continues to supply graciously in so many good and perfect ways. Here is a retelling of the event, as shared this morning with yet another friend:
I believe God does things at what we think is “the last minute” so that our faith might be increased, and so that it will be unmistakably obvious that the answer was from Him.
Allow me to relay a little story to encourage you. When we felt the Lord would have us leave Missouri, some five years ago, I thought the hurdles were insurmountable. The housing market was in a major slump. Although our neighborhood was nice, and friendly for the most part, the house directly next to ours was frighteningly dilapidated and it’s owner was…”colorful.” There had been offers to buy his property. He refused to sell. The privacy fence didn’t begin to conceal its “charms.”
Our home needed work. The foundation was giving way under the front porch, the siding was warping for some inexplicable reason. The bathroom was a mess, with holes knocked in the wall and plaster everywhere from my husband’s in-progress plumbing repair, and the back yard was a mud pit from all the neighborhood kids coming to our place to play on our “slip n slide”. In faith, we were packing boxes, and they were stacked floor to ceiling. We had no money to use a realtor, much less to advertise the sale of the house. We had put out no sign, we had run no ads. The only thing in our favor was that, through a generous gift, we were able to get the foundation fixed.
Then, out of the blue, our back door neighbor called and said there was an ad in the paper from someone looking to buy a house in our town. Stover, Missouri, is a tiny, midwestern town, way off the beaten path. It’s not upscale or quaint, and the pencil factory had shut down, making jobs scarce. In short, there was no reason for anyone to want to move there, much less to pick our place. In spite of these hurdles, I called.
The man came to look at our house THAT DAY. So much for “staging” and baking fresh bread to entice would-be buyers! The man’s daughter met us in front of the house, and they did a walk through. They saw the boxes, the plaster, the mud, the sags. They said they’d let us know, and drove away. Right after they pulled out, a neighbor from across the street walked over and inquired if we were selling. I told him we were. He stated that if these people decided against buying the house, then he was interested. I had little faith, and God condescended to that with this “safety net.”
The people called back that evening, and said they wanted to buy our house. I still look back and marvel. In less than two weeks, we were driving a UHaul “home” to Wyoming. I saved that newspaper ad. Years later, I framed it, with the words “God specializes in things thought impossible” included, and gave it to my husband for a birthday gift. Whenever I see it, I think of these words from the old hymn, “Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing”:
Here I raise my Ebenezer,
“Hither by thy help I’m come…”
Trust Him. When it’s all said and done, look for your Ebenezer to display to all. He works these things not just as good gifts to His children, but that many should see it, and fear, and trust in the Lord. (Psalm 40:3)