The price of miracles

We long for miracles. But there is a price to be paid. Let me try to explain.

We sold our house last week, but only after a battle.

This has been a consistent theme for us. On our first home, the private financing was deliberately pulled by a disgruntled church member after we had signed the papers to buy it. We were saved by a miracle. We had to place an unconditional offer in order to secure our second house, and had only weeks to sell our first home (or face bankruptcy - again). We had another miracle. We sold our second house on five weeks notice with nowhere to go, six kids, Elaine five months pregnant with Julia, and all of it happening at Christmas. Then another miracle. We shouldn’t have been surprised when history repeated itself once again. We bought a house under construction in Stratford, Ontario, then a few weeks later had to make our purchase offer unconditional or lose the house. And then the battle started to sell this one.

The weeks went past and no offers. Meanwhile all around us people were buying and selling with no difficulty at all!

So what was up?

God is in the business of being glorified. And he is most glorified when he does things we could not possibly do.

The famous Biblical scholar NT Wright, writing about the suffering of the Israelites in Egypt, made the statement that God often meets his people “at the screaming point.”

I can’t say I have suffered in the measure they did, but I know something about the screaming point. And so do all of you.

Our process of buying and selling houses came at the conclusion of a long and very testing period of time during which we sought God’s will about where we were to be based after leaving our church and the town in which we have lived for over thirty years. We are very particular about knowing the will and voice of God, and the process drove us deeply into him. It was accompanied by varying amounts of frustration, pain and disappointment. And I discovered a lot about my own weaknesses. Finally (and this took several years, not several weeks) God intervened, and decisively so, with supernatural confirmation. But it left us pretty worn down.

And so the last thing we needed (in our mind) was a further time of testing. Surely, Lord, at least we could sell our house without any difficulty. After all, in the present market as our agent and all the evidence around us declared, we had the wind at our back.

House after house sold. Houses with driveways backing out onto major thoroughfares, houses with wet basements, houses with awful locations, houses you’d never want to live in -- they all sold. But not ours. I began have a recurring nightmare in which every house in town had a sold sign on it, except ours. Our agent, a friend, kept telling us we had a beautiful house and someone would buy it. But he looked more and more worried. What had I done, Lord to deserve this?

It turns out he was getting ready to bless me.

All those prayers I prayed about him being glorified in what happened were about to be answered. There was only one catch -- it could only come when I was brought to the end of my own resources, to that horrible screaming point.

And then, sovereignly and very swiftly, and after a battle over demonic interference, it was all over.

One of the problems with faith teachers is they make everything sound so easy by telling how they named it and claimed it. It’s a lie, and all it does is deceive people and make the preachers look good.

It isn’t easy to follow Jesus in the narrow way. In fact, it can be quite hard. You can look to the outside world like you’re failing. Your reputation may take a few hits.

But in the end, it’s worth it. My testimony is that I’ll always fail. But Jesus never will. And in that, he gets the glory.

And he gets me to where I need to be. As Hudson Taylor said, God’s will, done God’s way, will never lack God’s provision.

Let him meet you at the screaming point. It’s where he always shows up.