(First published by Gospel Publishing House in Live! magazine,
an Assemblies of God adult Sunday school paper, April 7, 2019)
“…how much more will your Father in heaven
give good gifts to those who ask him!”
(Matthew 7:11 & Luke 11:13, NIV)
A few years ago, the Lord revealed to me that I had something of an “ugly stepchild” mentality. Like the Syrophoenician woman in Mark 7:24-30, I felt I could expect no better than scraps from the Master’s table. I thought I had made too many mistakes in life. I didn’t deserve God’s blessings; only hardship.
Then the Lord showed me that Christ’s sacrifice was sufficient—not only to cover those sin-debts I had amassed, but also to win me a seat at the Master’s table. I am no longer a beggar or a dog picking up what falls from the children’s plates. I am a child of the King, who loves to give generously to those He calls His own (c.f.—Romans 8:16-17 & Titus 3:3-7)! He wants to bless me with the desires of my heart, because I love and pursue Him with all that is in me (Psalm 37:4). After this bit of reprogramming, the Lord found a creative way to prove the truth of this word to me.
First, He helped my husband and me to sell a home that we had inherited through a great family tragedy. After four years and some modest remodeling, it sold for one-and-a-half times what had been paid for it. Then God allowed us to move back to the only city that has ever felt like home to me.
When we moved, neither my husband nor I were fully employed, but we had a tremendous credit rating and a substantial amount for a down-payment on a house. We were afraid we would have to pay the ridiculously high rent required by landlords in this college town for a full year to establish residency. However, we were soon directed to a company that specialized in home loans for non-traditional clientele.
After I was offered a dream job, we started looking for a house to buy. So much of what we saw was way overpriced, in sketchy neighborhoods or in poor condition. We began to be discouraged that we would never find a home we could enjoy at a price we could afford. It took a while for my husband to find work, as well. We knew we had to have the higher income his experience and education could secure, in order to afford house payments in this more inflated market.
One day, my husband was looking for properties on Craig’s List, hoping to find a home we could buy with owner financing or a rent-to-own arrangement. “Hey, Deborah,” he said, “see what you think of this one.” He showed me the listing for a lovely single-story house of the right size and number of rooms. It was in a good neighborhood and was reasonably priced. The address was within convenient walking distance from my job, or I could catch a bus in inclement weather.
Best of all, it was brand new—something I had never experienced in my life. Growing up, my family’s income was perpetually below the national poverty level. Mother worked hard to make every penny stretch. Nevertheless, we usually dressed in hand-me-downs, drove used cars and lived in previously-owned housing. After my husband and I met and married, ours was a similar lot.
Knowing how many scams there are nowadays on Craig’s List, I said, “It may not be legit. You’d better look it up on Zillow to see if it’s offered by the same seller at the same price.”
Surprisingly, it was. And there were even more pictures and details about the property there than what had been posted on Craig’s List. Very soon, we fell in love. After an hour of looking at the photos and dreaming about how we could utilize the space, we contacted the seller to arrange to go see it. He said it was already under contract.
How disappointing! Defaulting to my old habits, I thought, Of course, it was too good to be true.
But then my husband said something completely uncharacteristic for him. “Well, deals fall through all the time. Would you take my name and number, and call me if it doesn’t work out?”
The very next day, the seller called back and said, “I never expected to be making this call, but the buyer backed out of the deal. You can come see the house, if you like.”
That weekend, we walked through and were even more certain it was the house for us. The problem was, my husband did not have a job, yet. We could not qualify for a loan until that happened.
I prayed, “Lord, if this is the house you have for us, then you are going to have to hold it, until we can get a loan.” Almost daily thereafter, I prayed that prayer, more and more convinced that this was God’s desire for us.
A few months later, my husband and I were sufficiently employed to secure financing. We checked, and the house was still for sale. When we looked at it again, the seller mentioned that yet another buyer had gone through the process of purchasing the home, but that that deal had not gone through, either. There was nothing wrong with the brand-new manufactured house—they just weren’t the right buyers. God was saving it for us!
Because the home had been on the market a while, we were able to negotiate a better price. It took some time to get all the inspections, appraisals and other details to go through. However, within a couple of months, we were in our lovely new home.
Because of its size and layout, this house is perfect for hosting a small group Bible study. Due to its proximity to our church, we are able to be active in many outreaches and meetings. We have a beautiful guest room, in which we are able to host visiting friends, family and ministers. There is space for a garden in the back, and we hope to have a patio made to host barbecues. The potential for this house to be a blessing to us and to others is tremendous!
My husband, being something of a perfectionist, immediately found the flaws in our new home. Not to have my joy over God’s provision diminished, I told him, “You are not allowed to disrespect this house. It is God’s gift to us!”
No more scraps for me. My Father in heaven gives only good gifts to His beloved children!