It is no secret that our Canadian residence has been for sale for 20 months, 14 of which we have lived in the U.K. This has frustrated our best laid plans and desire to be good stewards of what God has given to us and has increasingly become a great burden. We have patiently waited on the Lord. Indeed, of all the trials I have ever faced this has been perhaps the most unique and difficult to endure. Last week, it appeared that God had finally arranged the sale of our house. The offer had been accepted, the conditions in the conditional period had been met, and then on the day [Monday] the buyers were to sign the deal that would have seen us all move towards the closing date (and them suffer a penalty if they chose to back out)— you guessed it—they backed out. No sale, and no going back to visit family as we had hoped to be able to do from the finances of the sale. That happened the day after I preached a People’s Choice question on suffering. Suffering manifests itself in many different ways. For Rebekah and I, this news caused our hearts to sink, gravely. It was a hard moment to trust in providence when it seemed that providence continually seemed to be against us. In our daily reading of the Psalms we read a passage that summed up how we felt:
O Lord, all my longing is before you;
my sighing is not hidden from you.
My heart throbs; my strength fails me,
and the light of my eyes—it also has gone from me.
(Psalm 38:9-10 ESV)
One of the reasons for sharing this is to demonstrate that pastors and their wives are human like the sheep they shepherd. They are not impervious to the trials, temptations and burdens that can and do beset us in our fallen world. What good would it be for me to proclaim James 1:2-4 from the pulpit if in my own walk I could not demonstrate that had been and was currently my experience?
Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.
(James 1:2-4 ESV)
And so even when such faith was difficult in the present, as with the Psalmist, by God’s grace, we read on in that same Psalm:
But for you, O LORD, do I wait;
it is you, O Lord my God, who will answer.
(Psalm 38:15 ESV)
Who else but to the Lord could we turn, even when the Lord’s providence to us, in our limited wisdom, we could not even apprehend let alone comprehend. And so we waited. Then on Thursday the Lord sent us the most miraculous encouragement. He did not sell our house, but another bill, one of those administrative bills where you are over charged for something and cannot see how, despite your best attempts to appeal, you’ll get out of, was waived in a postal update we received upon returning from a three day camping trip. God was in control and was reminding us of it.
Our Father knows. We do not but He knows.
And so like the Psalmist we wait on the Lord for His deliverance out of the burdensome situation praying,
Do not forsake me, O LORD!
O my God, be not far from me!
Make haste to help me,
O Lord, my salvation!
(Psalm 38:21-22 ESV)
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,