It is an old story for me, but sometimes those are the best aren’t they?
My wife and I were living in an apartment and we were being forced out because we did not know our complex had a weight limit for dogs. Our little puppy had grown up to be a big girl (she was a Jack Russell mix who grew to be about 40 pounds) and it was either lose the dog or move.
My wife and I had only been married for a few years and we adopted Biscuit for my father-in-law to keep him company as he went through treatments for lung cancer. It turns out that he was afraid she would jump on him and hurt him so we brought her back in with us.
No, this is not a dog story … she was just the impetus for change … our reason for moving. We had thirty days and the house hunt was on.
Having never purchased property before, we got with a realtor (that’s what you do, right?) and got her to show us some homes in our price range. It was one of those fruitless adventures that just didn’t seem to work.
That is, until the last house.
No, the last house did not catch our eye. Actually, it was the FSBO house next door that made us both do a double-take though we did not know the other felt the same way about it.
That next day we drove by the FSBO house, got the phone number, and called the owner to get an appointment for a walk-through. We set the date and were ready to see what was in store for us.
I remember stopping about halfway to the house and praying this prayer at a red light, “Lord, if this house is not for us, please make it obvious … gross odor … horrible stains … make something stand out to us as a definitive “No.” But, if it is for us, let us know the moment we walk in the door.”
We walked up, knocked on the door, and were greeted warmly by the homeowner. I don’t know exactly how the conversation got shifted, but it turns out the homeowner was a members of our church who left before we visited there and we had many mutual friends … this was before MySpace or any social media even existed.
What started as a home showing developed into a two family fellowship.
In what I am sure is not typical in real estate stories, the homeowner invited us over again later that week to eat dinner with them and meet her husband. We talked about why they were moving (upsizing for a growing family) and what we saw in the house. We closed the night in prayer asking God that if this transaction was to be, let it be a blessing for both families.
I was getting pretty nervous going into the next week. My wife WANTED this house. It was one mile from my work so I wanted the house as well. The question was … were we supposed to have it?
I went to a local office supply store and found forms for making offers … like I said, the internet was just AOL at that time … the ancient days.
I hesitated about what to do having never undertaken something of this magnitude.
I had heard a sermon recently about “praying the prayer of faith.” The gist of it was “if it is truly a prayer of faith, you pray it once, trust God, and never bring it up again.” So, the day I was going to make the offer, I stayed home from work, fasted and worshipped the Lord. When I felt clean and in tune with the Holy Spirit, I sat down to write the offer.
Then I hesitated over the amount.
I was wondering how to fill in that line. My wife was trusting me to handle this. It was the most major move of our young marriage. What if I blew it?
I began to think of what I could financially afford and what I would want to pay. I almost had a number until I remembered the prayer that we had prayed with the homeowner … let it be a blessing for both families.
With that in mind, I could not just pick a number.
I had to listen … I had to be patient.
When I felt the Lord had given me a number, I wrote it down and just looked at it. I was nervous at first but I developed a peace with it. I knew, by faith, that I had done my part in seeking and listening … the rest was up to the homeowner.
I called him and we made small talk for a few minutes. He told me that he was showing the house that afternoon to someone who wanted to buy it for rental property and he did not want to release the house to be a rental. He wanted to sell it to us.
I told him, “I am going to break one of the first rules of real estate. I don’t really need your house, but my wife really WANTS your house. With that in mind, I have written out an offer. It is the only offer I plan to make in this deal.”
He responded, “My wife and kids are at the Gulf. If your offer is good, then I will call them back and we will accept the offer tonight, but let me break a rule as well. I want to sell you our house but there is a number that I have to sell for to be made whole. If you can match that number, the house is yours.”
I felt like I had not breathed for a few minutes by the time he began to talk again.
“The amount that I need is…”
I am not sure if he felt his price was going to motivate me to re-think my offer … I do not know if he felt he was high-balling me … I really don’t know what he was thinking. I only know that I was quiet for what seemed like forever.
“That is the exact number that I have written on my offer,” I informed him.
He laughed. “Really? Oh, man! What are the chances? I’ll call the wife back from the Gulf and we will move on this tonight.”
Both parties were relieved and blessed.
As I type this, I am sitting right where I was that first night as a guest eating with the homeowner. The process of finding and acquiring this home was quite an adventure … it stretched my nerves and faith much further than they had ever been pushed before.
I learned and grew that weekend.
I was blessed for it.
This was my first step in trusting God on an entirely new level … believing in the reality of Who He is and that He really was concerned about my life and supplying all my needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.
There are those that ask how can you believe in God. I point to the truth of the Bible.
When asked how I know it is truth, my answer is that I have experienced Him at work too many times to not trust Him.
As the line from the old hymn says, “How I’ve proved Him o’er and over…”
That’s hogwash, some would say.
I would just answer that you don’t know Him like I know Him, but I pray that you could.
“Jesus, Jesus, precious Jesus,
Oh, for faith to trust Him more…”
Blessings and peace to you,