Most of us have heard this Christian counsel: “You can be honest with God. He’s tough enough to take it.”
When yet another house deal fell through for Nate and I, we began to play the blame game. Nate blamed the realtor, and I blamed God.
Today I read back through my prayer journal from those days and saw honesty being poured out to God: “I’m thinking, Lord, that you let us get close to succeeding and then deliberately take a sale away. I feel like we can’t win against you. I feel hopeless. Beaten down. What are we doing wrong? How am I praying wrong?”
It didn’t take long for God to answer those questions. The next day, as I read the devotional from “My Utmost for His Highest,” there it was: “God is never impressed by our earnestness. Prayer is not simply getting things from God. It’s getting into perfect communion with God. [As you pray] have no other motive than to know your Father in heaven.”
I’d been begging God to bring a buyer and get the house sold. I’d even prayed for the family that would move into our home, asking God to bless them as they decided our house was the one for them. But praying with the intent to know the Father better? Wasn’t that off-topic?
Our panic to get the house sold had overridden everything else. “Sell the house, Lord. Sell it now! You just have to sell it! What’s holding you back? Hurry up!”
Since I couldn’t see any good reason why he wouldn’t bring a buyer, I viewed him as deliberately spoiling everything by actually preventing the sale. Beneath that line of thinking, however, was my sinful attitude that I understood the situation just as well as God did and was wanting to overrule his opinion. I was forgetting that he was omniscient, and I was shortsighted.
God’s reason for not selling the house might even be something that would eventually thrill me. But swallowing that was difficult. If I could believe it, though, then God’s silence and our long wait would become bearable.
Gradually the mind-set of my prayer journal began to turn. “I don’t understand why you do or don’t do things, but I guess everything’s under your control, God. It’s all up to you. I have no power to shape circumstances, and I want this truth about your sovereignty to soak into me like water into a dry sponge, until I can think like that without even trying.”
Nothing changed about the house. It still wouldn’t sell. But other things did change. Nate’s back began to bother him badly. He started working less and coming home earlier, exhausted from the pain. The economy continued to collapse, and his clients began telling him they were tight financially and couldn’t pay what they owed.
Feeling battered and bruised as we approached the holidays of 2008, we decided to take the house off the market for a while.
No one buys houses at Christmas time.
(…to be continued)
“Seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” (Matthew 6:33)