Thursday, January 23, 2014

Perfect Timing

It felt naive, at times, to believe that the timing of our house selling or renting was God at work. To trust that the many months of our home sitting on the market in Colorado while we established our new life in a little Texas apartment was part of a larger plan.

And the longer I had to believe it--the more weeks that passed without change--the more naive I felt.

I could hope in the ultimate benevolence of the situation when I kept my focus off of what other people must think of us and our circumstances. But as soon as I transitioned back to feeling I had to justify our situation to onlookers, to feeling responsible for the fact that our beautiful home, which received rave feedback showing after showing, hadn't sold, my thoughts became crazy-making. I felt great chagrin, to be honest: for trusting and proclaiming so strongly that God had led us to Texas but then feeling stuck with this huge hassle and yet still trying to believe that there was a purpose for this timing.

How do you explain that deep down, beyond the frustration of inconvenience and financial burden, you believe that what looks like a curse will become a blessing? 

Sometimes, we confuse God's leading with a smooth path, and so when circumstances grow challenging, we assume that perhaps we've done something wrong, misread the signs, chosen poorly.

When I read the Bible, however, I see journeys full of hardship far, far greater than a house not selling, all of which were transformed to blessing. One need only look to Jesus to see that the greatest suffering becomes the greatest good.

I've thought often of the Israelites after their exodus from Egypt: wandering around the desert for forty years eating manna: literally, what is it? Forty years!

I feel great compassion for the Israelites--and for Moses, the deliverer, who was confronted with declarations that it would be better to return to Egypt, to slavery, than to continue without direction, without a home, indefinitely. What's the point of following God if a generation of desert-dwelling is the reward? If their daily bread is something they can't even name?

I've grown to recognize this longing for permanence. We've spent only eight months "wandering," asking "What is this?", and even that season has felt too long. How would I respond if I were asked to continue in this state (and by state, I mean both Texas and the condition of living in transience) for forty years?

What is it within us that so strongly desires establishment? Why is the notion of "home," of being "settled," so compelling to our human nature that we are tempted to return to slavery rather than live uprooted so we can inhabit the Promised Land. I don't know the answer to these questions. I simply witness this truth: we are internally driven to find our home, our place, our belonging now. Wandering blindly, dependently, is a profound struggle for our independent souls.

But I'm learning that the invitation to follow God is not an invitation to a life free of struggle. Rather, it's an invitation to believe God's goodness, to believe his promises, in the the midst of struggle. Though we grieve, lament, and rail against circumstance, we can surrender our self-doubt and self-criticism and the crushing weight of feeling responsible for our suffering, resting instead in the inscrutable ways of our Maker, waiting patiently upon his redemption.

When we believe that God's goodness, God's love for us, God's perception of us never changes, cannot change, is unchangeable; when we recognize that it is only our own fickle perceptions that change, we can say, "The Lord gives, and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord." Because we realize our circumstances are not a reflection of God's feelings toward us.

Well, to my great relief, we are not being asked to wander for forty years like the Israelites.

We found renters for our house in late December, and their lease will start in February. The fact that the house rented rather than sold means we don't have our equity from the sale, so we've had to change the price point of the homes we're looking at down here.

The first day we went out casually looking at houses a couple weeks ago, we stumbled onto an opportunity not listed on the MLS or any of the realty websites, a home that meets all of our needs and many of the wants we had thought impossible at this price.

And had we begun looking even one day sooner, we would have missed it.


It is a brand new home falling out of contract due to a job transfer. We signed the contract in time to pick 90% of the finishes, and the house is scheduled to be completed within the time frame necessary to move our belongings from Colorado straight into the house without paying extra storage or moving fees.

The timing, in fact, could not have worked out more perfectly.

We are in the area we hoped to live, in a neighborhood we really like, and remarkably, though we don't know a lot of people down here yet, we do know (and like!) the neighbors right next door.

Though we couldn't see the master plan for months and months, the picture is becoming clearer. And as is usually the case with God, the outcome is even better than we had thought.

Time and again, we worry that our hope in God is naive, silly, a pipe dream. That He has bigger problems to solve and less whiney children to care for. But time and again, God teaches us that we are wise to believe His goodness, that we are significant to Him, even in our foibles. We are not foolish to abdicate responsibility for circumstances beyond our control to the benevolence of the One who spoke heaven and earth into existence.

This particular story becomes yet another monument in our life to remind us of how God provides, of how He meets us in ways far superior to what we would construct if we were in charge. And we're only glimpsing the beginning of what's to come. In response, our hearts swell with gratitude and with the desire to use the blessings we've been given to bless those around us.

This is the dance of faith. God initiates, we respond. God provides, we give thanks. God blesses, and we bless out of our blessing. God proves his trustworthiness time after time, and so the next time our circumstances confound us, we have a little more history, a little more experience, a little more confidence in God's plan to transform the worst of times into the best of times.

We receive our manna, and it is enough to sustain us until we reach the land overflowing with milk and honey.

We have yet to know what the full plan for Josh's career and our time in Texas will be. But kindly, dependably, God shows us with each circumstance that He is for us, that His plan is not to harm us. He simply asks that we follow, with as much patience as a child can muster, in faith that the Father is good--really, truly good.


  1. Needed to read this today, Shaundra, for my own heart that is waiting for God's perfect timing. Thank you so much for sharing, sweet friend! I always love reading your blogs and stories, and it makes me glad to hear that you guys will soon be settling in a home that you love. Looking forward to hearing more about it as things unfold.

  2. Thank you, Sara. The unknown has been grueling, and I know your wait is even harder. I am praying for the perfect timing for you, too. Much, much love to you, dear friend!


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