Trust

.

embellishment

.

August 7, 2015

For some time now I have wanted to move from our lovely home here in North Algona Wilberforce Township in order to be closer to a larger centre that has services and facilities we now need (and that I would like) that are not available in our current location.

For over eight years I have been seeking the Lord’s wisdom and guidance about this. The difficulty is, I want to move and my husband does not. At least not yet. Each of us has a good reasons for our preferences. We both can’t have our way.

It’s hard for me to wait patiently for the Lord’s perfect timing and to trust His leading when I feel both a call and a desire to move, and cannot.

A friend recently loaned me a book written by Jerry Bridges entitled “Trusting God1” The back cover of the book posits the question: Why is it easier to obey God than to trust him?

The answer is:

Because obeying God makes sense to us. In most cases His laws appear reasonable and wise, and even when we don’t want to obey them, we usually concede that they are good for us. But the circumstances we find ourselves in often defy explanation; when unexpected situations arise that appear unjust, irrational, or even dreadful, we often feel confused and frustrated. And before long, we begin to doubt God’s concern for us or His control over our lives.

When I get to heaven, after the unspeakable joy of meeting Jesus face-to-face, the first guy I would like to track down for coffee and a chat is Abraham. Abram, as he was then called, was living a comfortable and prosperous lifestyle when God called him to go somewhere else. However, God didn’t tell Abraham where that ‘somewhere else’ might be located. In fact, God didn’t even give him a hint! (You can read all about it in Genesis 12 and Hebrews, Chapter 11.)

I have always been fascinated by Abraham’s trust in God and his faith in stepping out to ‘just go’ wherever (as in, “he knew not where…”) the Lord was leading him. In those days, Abraham didn’t have a Bible to consult or prayer partners to contact. In fact, he didn’t even have the law or the tabernacle. Jacob had not yet been born and the Jewish nation hadn’t yet been established. Yet he trusted the Lord, stepped out in faith and headed for the land of promise. It’s going to be a good chat. (I’m sure the coffee will be excellent, as well!)

After much discussion, in the spring (of 2015) my husband consented to listing our house for sale privately to see what transpired. Lo and behold, we very quickly and unexpectedly found qualified buyers. I had listed the property for sale on Kijiji and put a high enough asking price on it to discourage tire-kickers. We had some tire-kickers anyway, so we decided to pull the ad and contact a local real estate agent to list the property for us.

On Monday morning my husband made an appointment to meet with a local agent to list the house on the coming Thursday afternoon. On Tuesday morning that same week, we received a call from a different local agent who had a qualified buyer. (Who didn’t even blink at the price.) The potential buyers had seen the Kijiji listing before I cancelled it. We agreed to her terms and the people came on Wednesday afternoon to see the place.

Because I did not want to push my husband to sell should an offer come in, I privately prayed to the Lord and committed myself to letting my husband handle the transaction and promised that I would accept whatever decision he would make regarding the sale if an offer was forthcoming, knowing full well that as a joint owner I did not have to do this as I had an equal say in the decision. But because I knew my husband would give in to me if I pressured him, I made this commitment trusting that the Lord would guide my husband to make the right decision. I did not tell my husband I had done this.

I knew in my heart that my husband really didn’t want to sell at this time even though he had agreed to list the property. But I so wanted to move before winter set in that I was hoping that if we got a good offer he would be willing to accept it, as real-estate is a hard sell in our isolated location these days and the winters are long and demanding with the amount of work required in the upkeep of this place.

We got a good offer!

The people came, saw and bought—or at least they tried to. They made an offer that was over what was to be the real-estate listing asking price. I was overjoyed! Until I heard my husband make a counter-offer. I thought the offer was more than fair and an amazing answer to prayer. I knew in my heart that the counter-offer would be rejected. It was.

Words cannot describe the disappointment and despair that flooded over me. Yet I signed the counter-offer without so much a murmur. And if you know me, you know that for me to ‘not say anything’ was nothing short of a miracle!

So we lost the sale. My husband knew I was very disappointed. He reminded me on no uncertain terms that I had agreed to let him make the decision to accept or reject the offer. It was only then that I told my husband what I had prayed and committed to the Lord before the people came to see the house. I told him that although I was disappointed and didn’t understand why he didn’t accept the offer, I knew that the Lord is faithful and knows our needs and had guided him in his decision, so because of that I told him that I was okay with the choice he had made.

At least I thought I was. Until the reality sunk in that our chance to finally move forward had flown out the window.

It was then that I realized how totally gobsmacked I was feeling because I had trusted the Lord and my husband, and now, it seemed that both had let me down. I was reeling with feelings of frustration, despair and anger.

I couldn’t sleep that night. I became very agitated and angry. As the night progressed, sleep eluded me.

Anger and hatred are powerful, reason-defying emotions. It is not a trivial thing to have one’s will thwarted!

The power of those feelings was absolutely frightening. I was but a limp rag by the time I was ready to let them go and confess to the Lord my total dependence on Him, not only for selling our house, but for every single aspect of my life including my relationship with my husband!

I came to see that my husband had every right to feel as much hatred toward me for my seeming disregard of his wants and needs as I had mentally accused him of having for mine! It took me a while to notice the three fat little fingers pointed right back at me as I aimed my one crooked pointer finger directly at him!

Hatred is not from God. As I experienced those powerful feelings, I saw, perhaps for the first time, just how violent and fierce is Satan’s hatred for God and his people. I also saw how forgiveness opens the door to love. Satan is defenceless when it comes to love.

It was only after many long, tear-fill hours of frustration and very angry and unkind thoughts (which were directed both at my husband and the Lord) I finally came to a breaking point where at last I was able to let go of all of my distress and anger over what had happened that day. I was completely done in and totally exhausted! My rage was spent and I hadn’t even one tiny tear left to shed. Only then was able to say: Not my will, but thine, my Lord! I often think that is how I respond to God when he withholds something I dearly want. This time I meant it!

Once I was genuinely able to surrender my will to the Lord and truthfully and sincerely say those words in prayer to the Lord, to my surprise I found I was finally able to forgive my husband for the decision he had made.

Forgiveness is an amazing thing. Forgiveness opens your heart to love and gratitude to the person you are forgiving. My feelings of anger toward my husband were gone when I finally accepted that Lord had, without a doubt, shown both of us His will regarding the sale of our home at that time.

I am so thankful that I serve a loving God. It is because 2God is Love that I can trust Him.

In retrospect, I now see how the Lord directed the decision my husband made. Many things happened very soon after that decision that would have made it almost impossible to move at that time. But those ‘happenings’ are another story for another time.

I hold on to the promise that in God’s perfect time and will the right doors will open and we will then move forward to the place he has chosen for us, and that the buyers whom he has chosen for this place will love and enjoy this home as much as we have. And my husband will be as ready to move as I am, and he too will be delighted with the place the Lord provides for us! One day we will move. But not one day before the Lord opens that door. In the interim, we wait!

UPDATE

Can you guess what I am going to write now? (July 2017)

Youbetcha! We’ve moved!!! And we both love our new home!

And yes, it is exceedingly, abundantly above and beyond all that we could have thought of or asked for. As quoted from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians (Chapter 3 Verses: 20 & 21) Now unto him who is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us; Unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end.) Amen. For the record, we located from Ontario to Manitoba Canada. A big move! We both have been so blessed through all of this and are truly thankful we waited for the Lord to open all the right doors for us in His perfect time and will. Waiting is never easy but we are so thankful that we did, as our new home and city more than meets all of our hopes, dreams, expectations and needs. (And for the icing on the cake, the people who bought our old home have been in touch to tell us how much they love and enjoy what is now their new home.)

Here is an old hymn that expresses just a small part of what I have experienced through this time of change:

God Holds the Key to All Unknown3 I have loved this hymn since I first learned in long ago in 1975, and although we don’t sing it much anymore, it remains one of my favourites. The song is titled: God Holds the Key

God holds the key to all unknown, and I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key, Or if He trusted even me,
I might be sad!

What if tomorrow’s cares were here, without its rest?
I’d rather He unlock the day, and as the hours swing open say,
His will is best!

The very dimness of my sight, makes me secure;
For groping in my misty way, I feel his hand, I hear him say,
My help is sure!

I cannot read His future plans; But this I know,
I have the smiling of His face, and all the refuge of His grace,
While here below!

Enough, this covers all my wants: and so I rest!
For what I cannot, He can see,
And in His care, I saved shall be,
Forever Blest!

It has taken me a lot of words to tell a story that to some, must seem exceptionally trivial. However, the lessons I learned from this experience are to me, anything but trivial. I have learned first hand about God’s love and provisions. I know that He is trustworthy!

When I try, I fail;
When I trust, He succeeds.
(Quote by Corrie Ten Boom)

The following is an amazing story told about Hudson Taylor, the excerpt which has been taken from a sermon preached by Ray Stedman4 on March 16th, 1964 at the Peninsula Bible Church in Palo Alto, California. This story makes my ‘situation’ seem paltry by comparison. Read it, and let your heart take hope, as has mine, when we see both the provision and grace of our faithful Lord!

When he was but a young man, earnestly trying to do the will of God in China, Hudson Taylor journeyed from Swatow, in the south of China, up to the great city of Shanghai, intending to get his medical instruments and his medicines and then take the ship back down to the city of Swatow where he expected to labor with a Scottish missionary who had formerly been his companion there.

When he got to Shanghai he discovered, to his tremendous disappointment and chagrin, that the building in which he had left all his medical supplies and instruments had been burned to the ground and everything was destroyed. He was vexed and puzzled by it and he sat down to think of what he could do.

He had hardly any money but he decided to beat his way down the network of canals to the city of Ningpo where he could buy some supplies from another missionary, and then take a boat back to Swatow. It was a terribly hot summer and in the awful heat of those days he worked his way down the canal preaching as he went, often journeying by foot many long, weary miles with the little, Chinese shoes tight upon his feet.

When he came to the end of the canals he had to engage coolies to carry his baggage and everything went wrong. He engaged one group of coolies and started out ahead of them and had to wait through a long, hot afternoon for them to catch up and when they finally arrived he found they were all opium-smokers and really unable to bear the burden.

So he dismissed them and leaving the chief coolie to hire another group, he started out in advance, and this time he never saw the coolies or his baggage again. All he heard was some rumors that they had taken the baggage and headed for the hills. He was completely discouraged. He hardly knew what to do. He went into an inn to try to get some sleep and found it a rat-infested, bedbug-ridden place where he spent a miserable night.

The next morning he decided to press on to the coast and after a long, terribly discouraging march through the sun, he entered a city to find some place to sleep. He was turned out of several inns because he was a foreigner.

Then the police began to shadow him and he did not know where to turn. Finally a young man offered to help him. He led him around through the city until one o’clock in the morning and then abandoned him. Taylor had to spend the rest of the night on the steps of a temple with three thieves lurking in the shadows, waiting for him to fall asleep so they could murder him and take his effects. He kept himself awake all night long, singing songs and repeating Bible verses to himself, until, finally, they gave up in disgust and left, and he managed to catch a few moments’ sleep.

In the morning, the young man who had taken him through the city streets came back and demanded that he pay him a tremendous amount for his “guide service.” This was too much. Hudson Taylor lost his temper, grabbed the fellow by the arm and shook him and told him to shut up and sent him away. Weary, broken, and dispirited, he started the long, painful journey back to Shanghai with his feet blistered and weary, and for eight long miles he dragged himself along in spiritual rebellion, wondering why God had abandoned him in this way.

Then suddenly it broke upon him that what had happened was that he had, in effect, denied his Lord. All his anger and pain melted into tears of repentance as the truth broke through to him that he had never asked God’s guidance and protection along the way. He had been so intent upon his own trouble, that he had forgotten to commit the matter to the Lord.

He relates in his journal that, as he went along, he confessed the whole thing, and asked the Lord to forgive him, and there came flooding into his heart a glorious sense of the presence and the forgiveness of Christ. The initiative and control passed once again from Hudson Taylor to the Lord, where it belonged.

This was what God was after. When Taylor got to Shanghai he found a letter waiting for him with a check in it for the exact amount to cover his loss.

And soon after this, he learned that if he had gone on to Swatow he would have arrived just in time to have been imprisoned and perhaps executed.

All the fretful worry, gnawing fear, the despair and the perplexity that he experienced was totally unnecessary.”

REFERENCES

1 Trusting God Even When Life Hurts by Jerry Bridges
Navpress © 1988 & 2008.

2 Compelling Truth – God is Love

3Christian Worship
God Holds the Key 84.884 by G.C. Stebbins 1846-1945
Exeter: The Paternoster Press, Great Britain, 1975

4When Prayer Becomes Personal by Ray Stedman, Authentic Christianity

September 16, 2015 – Edited to add: My husband’s second surgery when very well. He is feeling much better and we are so thankful for that, and also, very thankful that we are still here in our cherished little home. God is good!