One more story about prayer and the house (see yesterday’s post).
About eight years ago, I attended Jim and Leena’s housewarming for their new home in Philadelphia. As I write, I’m sitting in the room where a group of people circled around them and prayed for them. I still remember what I prayed.
Unlike everyone else, I wasn’t completely excited about them buying a home and ‘settling down.’ It’s not that I wasn’t happy for them. It’s just that I knew that they had a strong sense of call to overseas mission. India was on their radar even back then. To me, a home seemed like a threat to that call. I was weary that mortgage payments, minivans, picket fences, and soccer games would keep them away from the distant shores that God wanted to take them to. To me, I just couldn’t see how a house would do anything but tie them down to Philadelphia.
So while I asked the Lord to bless them and their new home, I prayed that He would ensure that owning a house would not keep them from being where He wanted them to be and doing what He wanted them to do.
Fast forward eight years. In His providence, God not only answered that prayer, but He used that same house that I was sure would be a threat to mission for them to become a means for mission for me. In His will, He used that same house to tie my family down to Philadelphia.
Jim and Leena selling this house makes sense in light of Luke 18:28-30:
And Peter said, “See, we have left our homes and followed you.” And he said to them, “Truly, I say to you,there is no one who has left house or wife or brothers or parents or children, for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times more in this time, and in the age to come eternal life.”
Shainu and I buying this house makes sense in light of Jeremiah 29:4-7:
“Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, to all the exiles whom I have sent into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: Build houses and live in them; plant gardens and eat their produce…But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare.
It’s the same house. And yet God called Jim’s family to sell it for the sake of His mission and called my family to buy it for the sake of His mission. Only God can write stories like these.