Gene and I have faced several life-altering decisions over the past 20 years. One of them came in 2007 when we sensed God directing us to get involved in International Messengers by launching the Canadian office.
Doing so meant leaving our ministry at a year-round Christian camp on Quadra Island with its provided housing and moving to Abbotsford. We’d have to find suitable housing there within our price range—a major challenge in that economy. But we faced other practical challenges, too. And so, we began to pray.
One of the prayers we uttered was this: “God, please work out the details so You will receive glory. Do something that’s humanly impossible so those watching will realize that You’re very much alive and involved in the lives of Your children.”
He answered. Here are the specifics we needed and how He did the seeming impossible:
- Camp program directors don’t leave camp in the busy summer season. How were we supposed to travel to the Vancouver area and find a house, then? Simple.
Our oldest daughter decided to get married in Washington state on the last weekend of July—the only weekend the camp staff had off all summer. We traveled to Washington for the wedding and, on the return trip home, stopped in Abbotsford to look at houses with a real estate agent.
- We were scheduled to move on August 28th and then officially begin our role with International Messengers by attending a staff conference in Slovakia in early September. Our flight left on September 4th. The quick turnaround meant we needed a house that was clean and ready to move into. We’ve moved about a dozen times, and I’ve never found such a place. But this time was different.
The real estate agent showed us eight or ten townhouses. The last one we saw was empty. And freshly painted. It had new carpet and wood floors. And it was spic-and-span clean.
- We’d had a pet cat for 12 years. Giving him away would have made us very unpopular with our kids who still considered him a family member even they’d already flown the coop. Bringing him with us was non-negotiable. But what were we to do with him while we traveled overseas for two weeks? Transplanting him into a new environment and then abandoning him seemed a tad inhumane.
A week before moving day, I received a phone call from a long-lost friend who happened to mention that her daughter had just married and was living in Abbotsford where she and her husband attended university and shared a house with a single guy. I asked if they’d like to housesit for us for two weeks. The newlyweds loved that idea. They also loved cats.
- Our new townhouse was too small to accommodate my piano. I tried to sell it before moving, but my efforts failed. On moving day, it was the first item to be placed in the van. I figured we’d somehow squish it into the living room temporarily and I’d run ads for it. Surely someone in the city would buy it.
A family friend and his teenage son met us at our townhouse and helped unpack our belongings. When they saw the piano, the son immediately opened it and began playing. Gene said, “We tried to sell it but couldn’t. Too bad. This place is just too small to hold it.”
Our friend said, “How much do you want for it? We’ve been hoping to buy a piano for our family room.”
We sealed the deal. The guys closed the moving van door, drove to our friend’s house, and unloaded the piano there.
- The townhouse fell within our price range. Enough said.
Chuck Swindoll writes, “God is not known for doing standard things. He is engaged in doing very distinct things. When a person does something, it has the man or woman look about it. It drips with humanity. You can follow the logic of it and see the meaning behind it. You can even read what they paid for it and how they pulled it off and the organization that made it so slick. God doesn’t build skyscrapers; men build skyscrapers. And they all have the touch of genius, human genius. But you cannot find a man who can make a star. And when God steps in, His working is like the difference between a skyscraper and a star.” (Bedside Blessings, pg. 155)
Are you facing a seemingly impossible situation? If so, consider it the perfect opportunity for God to do something big. Ask Him to work out the details in a way that gives Him glory and causes everyone watching to see that He’s very much alive and involved in His kids’ lives. Be sure to record His answers—you’ll have stories that will impact generations to come! (I’d love to hear them, too).