Wednesday, March 16, 2016

A Strange but Glorious Joy - AN UPDATE

Two days ago I re-posted a blog I wrote in July 2014 about our need to move—again! In that blog I mentioned the strange and glorious joy of receiving assurance from the Lord in prayer and living with the joy of his answer, even when we have yet to see his answer with our eyes.

By God’s grace, Kim and I lived with that joy for fourteen months until the day we heard that the house had sold and we had 28 days to find a new place and move. For several reasons, we decided it was best for us to lease a new place, however, that is easier said than done in our neck of the woods. We had to stay in a particular price range and we had to find a place that would welcome our beloved dog, Bella.

When we first began to look, there was literally nothing on the market—not a single place within 15 miles that matched our criteria. But during a meeting with some colleagues at a local non-profit, I said, “You watch, the Lord will provide for the glory of his name.”

And sure enough, the next day when I looked again there were three places. One of them didn’t work out. Another of them technically would have worked but the place was a wreck and the landlord didn’t seem interested in addressing some serious issues with the house. We drove away from that place praying, “Lord, we’ll go there if you call us but please open another door.” The third place, which at first we thought we would not like, turned out to be the place God had provided for us.

It’s a little over half the size of the house we were leaving, which was fine with us, but it had about 3 times the yard…and the yard is filled with big, tall trees and lots of bushes and flowers and feels something like a retreat center to us. Kimmy, who loves gardening, was sold right away, and so was I. We took another trip to the house with Rachel and she liked it, too, so we sat in our car and prayed, “Lord, we want to live here but we want your will even more, so please lead the way.”

And he indeed led the way! Long story short, all the doors opened, and we were able to move in on October 1, 2015. The Lord provided for the glory of his name.

And now we see in part what he saw from a distance. We see the house. We see where we park our cars. We see where we walk the dog, and where she chases squirrels every day of her life! We see where our furniture goes, although we still have yet to decorate all of the rooms. We see the places where we love to spend time with the Lord, and where I love to work on sermons and doctoral project and books and blogs like this one.

We now see with our eyes what the Lord saw almost two years ago when we prayed and he gave us assurance. Now our joy is not so much in the place the Lord provided as it is in the God who provided and taught us to rest in him and trust in him and rejoice in him while we wanted.

O my friends, trust the Lord! Pray and ask for his help and provision. Stay in his presence until you know he’s heard your plea, and then you will know the joy about which I write. And when you see his answer with your eyes, you’ll rejoice more in Him than in “it.”

Indeed, may the Lord continually grant us the gift of that strange and glorious joy of assurance in prayer; of faith to lay hold of what our eyes cannot see; of heartfelt thanksgiving to our God before and after the request has been granted; of knowing that despite what we don’t know, we know the One who knows. 

All praise and glory and honor be to his holy and happy name, amen! 

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