Late one night in 2009 we got a call. Our oldest daughter, Jaime, was upset. “Mom, you won’t believe it. Our house was hit by a bullet less than a foot below the girl’s room!”
In the few short years since they had moved into their beautiful new home, crime required them to make calls to the police. But this straw broken the camels back. PJ and Jaime decided that night they would be moving. Immediately.
Gratefully, they quickly found a landlord that would rent to a family with four young children — and a doberman. Jaime knew the decision was the right one, but a part of her was understandably sad to leave the house they had made into a home. Three of their four children were born while living there, and Danae made her entrance into the world in their bedroom upstairs. Memories made and hardships endured had endeared the house to her. She drove away wondering what the future held but eager to live in a safe place.
Two rental homes later, it looked hopeless that she and PJ would have a home to call their own anytime soon. Then when Redeemer Church was launched 40 minutes away and her dad and I started talking about moving, she battled discouragement. Last summer she and I discussed how sad we would be when she helped us pack up a moving van without any timetable for them to join us.
Yet this afternoon she and PJ will settle on a beautiful home in Lake Nona.
What happened? God intervened. He made the impossible possible. Through a sovereign stream of providential love He led them to a sale by owner home that perfectly suits their family. Just three months ago that which seemed like an impossibly distant dream has become a reality. And one happy Granma is thrilled that Kayla and Wyatt will be riding their bikes to my house after our own move there in early March.
Jaime was connecting the dots even before she and I talked yesterday.
“Mom, God knew when that bullet hit my house that this home would become mine. He knew it all when I was worried that I’d never own a nice home my kids could love like I did my childhood home. He was there when I was crying over feeling like we wouldn’t have roots anywhere. All along He was arranging everything so that I would have a school room and a backyard and a playroom and a house I can use for hospitality. Why in the world did I not trust Him???”
A friend once said something I remind myself of regularly: “Let’s all just admit it: trusting God is just plain hard work sometimes.” It’s true. Trusting God doesn’t come naturally. It’s a work of His indwelling spirit that alludes us when trials loom.
Over the years I’ve watched my daughter walk through some really hard stuff. When disappointment and fear stalked her and circumstances tempted her to distrust God’s compassionate care, she’s been honest about her struggles. She is like every other believer, including her mother, who has doubted the love of God during suffering. Author Jerry Bridges says, in fact, that questioning God’s love and care is a typical reaction of the struggling Christian. (His book, Trusting God, is one of my top five life changing books.)
Are you struggling through a season where doubts of God’s tenderness and care are stalking you, too? Are waves of disappointment, sadness or discouragement beating against your heart and tempting you to wonder if He is really in control? Do unanswered prayers make it seem like hopes for the future will never happen for you while you watch others enjoy blessings and fulfilled dreams?
When God’s delays tempt you to wonder if you’re loved, perhaps you can remember Jaime.
In 2003 a house was built. Six years later she and her family would move into a home one hour north; a house in which she planned to spend many memorable years. God knew what she didn’t. Circumstances would require that she, her husband and their four children would move into three different homes during the following four years until that house built in 2003 would become theirs through a set of only-God-could-do-this circumstances.
Understanding why the twists and turns of life happen is hard. Trusting God through those unwanted changes is often harder. How comforting to know that our distrustful hearts don’t disqualify us from His provision.
I’m happy that my daughter and her family have a lovely new home. And that she knows Who provided it.
Despite her doubts.