Last week Ken and I went looking for a house in Palmerston. We had booked appointments with two realtors to look at houses that had been on the market for a while. My Mom and Dad stood shivering with us outside the first house on Monday morning, noticing “concerns” while we waited for the realtor. Half an hour later, thawing in the car, Ken called the realtor who had forgotten about our appointment (maybe because the house had been conditionally sold). This house was clearly NOT the one. Disappointed, and with some time to kill before our next one, Ken and I drove up and down the streets of Palmerston looking for a place that spoke to us, as they say, but heard nothing but deafening silence. We returned to my parent’s house for lunch, discouraged and wondering if this whole experiment is a foolish adventure that’s sure to end in disaster.
So the questioning began:
- Are we crazy?
- Why doesn’t the path ahead look clearer?
- Is God going to allow us to fall flat on our faces?
- What if we don’t find a place?
- What if finances fall through?
As the what-ifs circled like vultures, my trust felt like it was crumbling, because behind all these questions loomed the big one: Is God actually in this?
When I think about that question now it looks foolish. Time after time he’s proven himself trustworthy – Noah got the heads up to build a boat, Joseph found favour even in jail, a nation of slaves was freed on a single night, waters parted, journeys led, battles fought, hungry bellies filled, storms stilled – at every turn God rescues his people, provides for their needs, and leads them into places and situations they would never have gotten to on their own. That’s been true of our lives… but my memory is so short when it comes to trusting him.
This whole experience has me reflecting on the story of the call of Abram in Genesis 12. Abram didn’t have a personal or family (or Scriptural) history of God’s faithfulness to recall when God called him to leave Haran. He didn’t have any familiarity with the place that God was going to take him – not even a name. He didn’t get a map or a guidebook. His call was to leave behind everything familiar and all his established relationships and trust that God would show him the spot that he had for him. What Abram got was an invitation to follow.
I wonder what it was like for Abram to follow God on his journey. When the road divided, how did he know which way to turn? Did he look for “signs”? Did he question the call? Did he also question the One who issued the invitation? In the end, we know something that Abram didn’t when he set out. We know that God made good on his promises. We know that God provided for Abram and his family at exactly the right time. We know that God was gracious with Abram’s lack of trust (think of the Egypt incident). We know that God led him every step of the way.
After lunch last Monday, Ken and I, along with my Mom and Dad headed back to Palmerston for another showing. We saw a lovely house and it was a new and exciting experience to wander through a home, envisioning ourselves in that space. We met a wonderful local realtor who patiently answered our questions. She told us right off that the house had been conditionally sold, that the housing market in Palmerston is inflated, and that there isn’t currently much for sale. In spite of this (not-so-new) news, we weren’t discouraged or disheartened. In this meeting we caught a glimpse of the Wild Goose (a celtic Christian envisioning of the Holy Spirit, for more on that click here) and it was a gentle grace. God is ahead of us, preparing a way and leading each step. God is gently exposing our fragile and limited trust and graciously meeting us as we confess our fears and doubts. God is giving us reassurances that he will provide what we need when we need it. And God will make good on his promises – he will be with us every step of the journey.
So the chase continues.