Exactly five years and three months ago, I believed God for something impossible.
It wasn’t a promise directly out of Scripture (though it was surrounded by Scripture reading and covered in prayer). This was more like a promise whispered from God’s Spirit to mine.
To tell you the truth, I wasn’t quite sure I was hearing correctly. The idea was so extravagant.
But that’s why it caught my attention. I’m not really prone to the extravagant. I’m more of a put-your-head-down, do-your-work, quietly-help-people, live-frugally, and don’t-desire-too-much kind of girl.
Honestly, I was kind of early in my journey of learning to discern the voice of the Spirit, but not a total newbie. I had already trusted God for some radical things. (Some of you might remember our Trust Adventure.) And I had experienced His guidance, presence, help, delight, and encouragement in some pretty significant ways.
Even so, I was way out of my league in this. Thankfully, I had some friends who were further along in their faith journey than I was. I checked it with them. They encouraged me. One of the things I remember was that they helped me follow the voice of faith and life, even when the voice of fear was screaming SO DANG LOUD!
Looking back, I’m thinking that fear was probably what tipped them off. Yahweh does not trade
in fear, but rather in life—and life abundantly.
I’m not talking about a prosperity Gospel. I wasn’t expecting a new car, a diamond ring, a Mediterranean cruise, and a mansion. Rather, in spending time with God, I had been given a vision of a property where we might host a retreat center to help people refresh and heal in the Lord.
It’s just that I had no way to get it. All I had was a little faith. Not a lot; but my Bible says that you don’t need a lot. So, I invested what I had. I chose to believe God could do the impossible.
I felt ridiculous.
Not only that, I looked ridiculous.
The people around me and those dependent on me were nervous.
I was nervous!
But there’s something about a God whisper that seems to have power in it. So I held to faith in my God, and I acted accordingly.
Then we didn’t get the property.
I cannot begin to tell you of my heartbreak. Being out of my league in the first place, the crash of disappointment I experienced reminded me of the Wiley Coyote noticing he was far past the cliff, standing on thin air; he fell.
I fell, too.
Hurt, confused, and embarrassed, I tried to pick up the pieces of my life. Unfortunately, on top of this non-miracle, the rest of my life had already fallen to pieces. This was pretty much the last straw. I tucked my tail between my legs, retreated to the corner, and stayed there.
I stayed there for 3 years.
I continued to believe in God, but I was unwilling to risk anymore. Meanwhile, I was always wondering what went wrong – why things didn’t go the way I expected them to go.
During this time, I grew very close to Holy Spirit as Counselor and Comforter. The Spirit listened to me, helped me, and slowly was healing me. I learned to laugh again and hope again, at least in the privacy of my own room. Learning to re-engage the world took time.
Then, two years ago, in the spring of 2020, the Spirit of Jesus whispered again to my spirit, It’s time to talk about property again.
Talk about a gut punch. Just the thought of it brought all the remembrance of the pain. There was no way I could go there again!
But golly, it was Jesus who was asking… And He is my friend… I know His voice…
I also knew that if Jesus was bringing this up, He was bringing it up out of kindness. I was entering into the next stage of my healing journey—recovered enough to consider going there again.
After a fair bit of wrestling, I was eventually willing to give it another try. The Holy Spirit is nothing if not compelling. I sought out godly counsel, prepared myself to face whatever resistance might come, and began to look foolish again.
This time around, I had a little more stability in my life and family, our ministry had been established, and we had a couple of ideas to try. I had my eye on a specific property, but still, very limited resources.
My husband and I did what we knew to do: we talked to people, we put a message out to our donors, and we tried to raise the money.
We raised $270.
The property was selling for $3 million.
It was another no-go.
Yet, even as the fundraising campaign got very little traction, Yahweh and I talked often about the property. As far as potential ministry sites went, it wasn’t really my style. (It was $3 million. I run a small non-profit. Duh.) Yet somehow, I think He wanted me to imagine it as my style – all the fancy things I like but would never admit I like. (It had a chandelier in the primary bathroom!)
It was not easy having my desires drawn out from the depths of me and laid on the table. It felt vulnerable. I was raised to be grateful for small things. I had learned not to ask for much. Yet somewhere in that quest for gratitude in simplicity, I must have picked up an underlying belief that God would never want to offer me nicer things, things that made me smile, things that were beyond essential – probably not even the things that would help me minister to His people more effectively.
I was functioning as if I thought God was stingy.
It’s two years later, and I still don’t have that $3 million property…
Or any property, for that matter. I’m finally preparing to move, but not even into my own house.
We’re looking for another rental.
Am I disappointed? Sure, a little.
Do I think this story is over yet? Not by a long shot.
At this point in my journey, I am not sure if this promise will be fulfilled in my lifetime. For quite awhile, I thought it would. Abraham trusted a promise from God that took 500 years to be realized in the earth, and even that was only a shadow of greater fulfillment to come.
Yet even if the promises I hope for come as a gift to my great-grandchildren, I will not regret having believed God for the impossible. While I experienced a lot of pain when things didn’t go as I expected, over time, that pain brought me back to the arms of my heavenly Father.
I questioned, I cried, I ranted, I even despaired.
He heard my cry.
He set my feet on a rock.
I’ll give you my current take on the whole matter of faith and promises: I have become convinced that it is much better to believe than not to believe.
Anything that gets broken in the process can be mended. God is faithful. Over time, that has become more obvious for me, not less.
In addition, this story is not over yet…
We should hold fast to the confession of our hope,
for the One having promised is faithful.
~ Hebrews 10:23
This blog was also posted on the Next Step Community. You can find it here amid other articles by like-minded authors.