When God Waits: Making Sense of Divine Delays
By Jerome Daley
I couldn't suppress a dazed grin as I put down the telephone and turned to Kellie. "You're not going to believe this, but it looks like we have an answer to our prayers!"
When we had arrived in Greensboro two months earlier, we were graciously invited by Kellie's parents to live in their home while we looked for one of our own. After several weeks they left to spend the next four months outside the country. It was a tremendous blessing to have our own place, even though we were living out of suitcases while most of our things remained in storage. We launched out expectantly to house hunt, looking for land with the hope of building a house.
But as summer waned, so did our hopes. It was a classic situation to be sure: everything we liked was too expensive, and what we could afford was less than exciting. We had a clear and somewhat idyllic picture of what we wanted. It sat on the outskirts of town on a large private lot with room for the kids to play and for us to garden. Plus a creek would be nice. It would be a country French house where we would live happily ever after.
After a while it appeared we might have to ratchet that dream down a few notches.
Even though we had moved to Colorado two years earlier without having a place to live and knowing scarcely a soul, we had gotten pretty comfortable with our life there. Now, back in North Carolina, we had to face again the intimidating task of finding a place for ourselves. And once again we were looking for a home without the stabilizing effect of having a real job.
After looking at a hundred possibilities and saying no a hundred times, we saw our bank balance dwindle dangerously close to nothing. Then it wasn't quite so much fun anymore. Where once we'd been energized by the towering quest before us, we began to feel like grasshoppers dodging the feet of giants! We had to confront the daunting challenge: would we fight for a dream or run away from the risk? Well, we might become grasshopper road kill, but for the present we'd go after the giant.
So much for pluck and blind faith. Two months later we still had nothing to show for our house search. And worse, our dream of launching one Flesh Ministries began to look like a receding glimmer. Even if we did find just the right house, there was still the small matter of paying for it. Paying for anything, really. The equity from our last house was used to fund our Colorado Sabbatical; how would we pull off buying a place now?
That's when the phone rang, and I'm not speaking metaphorically. I was startled to hear my uncle's voice on the other end. I hadn't spoken with him for several years, but he just happened to want to invest in the family business that my grandfather had begun, of which I had part ownership. Would I be interested in selling part of my share, he wondered. Well, as a matter of fact, yes! If we could find a house we liked, we now had a decent down payment. God, you are truly amazing!
The elation of that divine rescue of our struggling dream lingered for months as we reveled in the wonder of God's eleventh-hour breakthroughs. This was the second time that God had intervened, without natural explanation, to pull us back from a financial precipice and secure our course. The first time had come a year and a half before, when we felt the threat of a financial free fall in Colorado. Out of nowhere, a real-estate agent mailed every home in our old North Carolina neighborhood (where we still owned a home), saying she had a family determined to live in that community Within a couple of weeks and without even putting our house on the market, we had a full-price offer that covered all our debts and gave us a tidy sum to live on for the remaining year in Colorado Springs.
Wow. Was it more awe or relief that we felt? Whatever it was, it brought us to our knees in worship. God's kindness and favor to us were becoming a new and deeper part of our understanding. No longer was God good in a vague, theoretical sense. Now he was good to us! The fundamental goodness of his essence broke in upon us, and we saw that he can be nothing other than good. This began a deep awakening: daring to believe that we actually live underneath the favor of God.
I don't think I'm that different from you, because we both live in a culture driven by performance. We work harder and harder to earn a commendation, a raise in pay, a promotion, or new opportunities. With so much of our earthly life geared to earning the favor of people, it's tough to absorb a favor that supercedes our tarnished efforts. The grace in which we stand is the eternal exhibit of Isaiah 55:9 - "As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts"!