We have arrived—it seems too good to be true, and yet, here we are, unpacked and at home in a new place with a one-year lease.
We arrived in town on a Monday morning with a job promised but no place to live. It was time to get our feet wet. We'd booked a hotel for four days hoping somehow against all likelihood to find a permanent place by week’s end...
We checked ads, booked appointments, viewed places, and got invited out to a community dinner! That was day #1.
Tuesday Jim started work and I checked ads alone, followed up on appointments and viewed places I could certainly not imagine living long-term—a makeshift basement solution, a dismal miniscule condo. Then came the last viewing of the day, a suite we had supposed would be too small, but may as well have a look…. It was just out of town on a quiet street at the top of a hill, backed by towering mountains. A great field sloped away at the doorstep, (a frisbee-golf course actually) and I could imagine my city grand-kids coming to play here, to visit 'Grandmom and Grandad'. I have dreamed of this for a long time. And when the viewing was over I was so excited I could hardly sit still. It was beautiful, affordable and had wild places for grandkids to run. YES! This was it--just what we needed. And it was only day #2. Unbelievable. Surely God had gone before and held this treasure for us.
The rest of the week was just a matter of hoping and waiting for approval, getting papers signed, and meeting at the appointed time on Friday, the first of April to get the key! Incredible. God had made a way for us in a place where this sort of thing just doesn't happen. Long are the wait-lists and many the persons looking for a place to live in this town. Yet here we are, that river crossed; all we had to do was take a step of faith and get our feet wet and God did the rest.
That is the short and sweet story of our week's home-hunt. We had braced for a long drawn out 'crossing', for the awkwardness and inconvenience of temporary housing of some sort, for dashed hopes and rugged perseverance, stress and strain... Instead God simply led us right away to the place He had reserved for us. And more than that, he gave us harmony and peace together in the process and a calm trust that all would be well in His time...We had a sense that we were being buoyed up by the prayers of God's people and carried along on the current of God's great grace. If you were one who prayed on our behalf, THANK-YOU! God gave me courage to make my way around a strange town and meet with strangers alone...He gave me sweet repose each morning as I sat quietly with Him in a quaint chapel with stained glass windows reading and meditating on His Word...He filled my days with beauty and peace…
I won't pretend there weren't moments of anxiety, especially in the night when things overlooked by day become monsters breathing terror: " What will the heating bill be like?...what have we gotten ourselves into?! Surely there's a 'catch' to this; it's too good to be true. hiss, hiss.." But God is faithful, present by His Spirit restoring my faith with the reminder that we are just sheep having entrusted our lives to the Good Shepherd. What happens to us is His responsibility. Sheep are not expected to recognize every potential pitfall in the path ahead. They are not noted for their cleverness. They need only follow the Shepherd and trust His leading. The Lord is my Shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He lead me beside still waters. He restores my soul...
One peaceful afternoon with nothing left to do but wait, I sat on a bench by the river in brilliant afternoon sun, water sparkling, runners passing on the trail, dogs being walked, families enjoying vacation time together... Snow-capped mountains rose in front of me and all around in an impressive panorama bringing to mind the psalm: "As the mountains are round about [our town], so the LORD is round about his people from henceforth even for ever." Ps.125:2 I don't yet know the names of these peaks that surround us but for me they bear God's signature, and have become a constant reminder of His presence and protection.
A mighty fortress is our God, a bulwark never failing!
What more can I say? It has been a week (now stretching to two weeks, as we've unpacked and gotten organized) of things too good to be true, were it not for the True and Good God that we serve, who sees and grants the desires of our hearts and has only good in store for His children! He is a good, good Father. Thank-you for sharing the journey with us. Now please share our joy!
The lyrics of this hymn come to mind as perfectly apropos for my heart to sing:
Praise to the Lord, the Almighty, the King of creation!
O my soul, praise him, for he is thy health and salvation!
All ye who hear,
Now to his temple draw near,
Join me in glad adoration.
Praise to the Lord, who o'er all things so wondrously reigneth,
Shelters thee under his wings, yea, so gently sustaineth!
Hast thou not seen
How thy desires e'er have been
Granted in what he ordaineth?
Praise to the Lord, who doth prosper thy work and defend thee!
Surely his goodness and mercy here daily attend thee;
What the Almighty will do,
If with his love he befriend thee!
tr. by Catherine Winkworth, 1863
Oh, taste and see that the LORD is good! Blessed is the man who takes refuge in him! Ps.34:8
"Behold the eye of the LORD is on those who fear him, on those who hope in his steadfast love, that He may deliver their soul from death and keep them alive in famine. Our soul waits for the LORD; He is our help and our shield For our heart is glad in Him, because we trust in his holy Name. Let your steadfast love, O LORD, be upon us, even as we hope in you.
….your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added to you…Mt.6:32,33
Let those who delight in my righteousness shout for joy and be glad and say evermore, "Great is the LORD, who delights in the welfare of his servant!" Ps.35:27
The LORD redeems the life of his servants; none of those who take refuge in him will be condemned. Ps.34:22
Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the LORD forever. Ps.23:6