Many years ago, my husband and I were at a crazy point in our lives, let alone our marriages. No, things between US were fine. It was the typical young couple stuff, though: I was teaching full-time and had just finished my Master’s, and my husband had finished his bachelor’s after years of selflessly working all day and then taking a full courseload at night, driving an hour each way to school in order to do it. With our degrees behind us and our jobs settling down, we decided the time was right to start a family.
And it didn’t go so well at first. Don’t get me wrong, all the attempting was nice, but there were no results.
Then one morning, I had a revelation. It wasn’t the kind where God speaks to you in a booming voice or where angels come down with a banner. No burning bushes, no tongues of fire… just the knowledge of something, and this feeling that it was 100% correct.
We’d let church attendance slip by. We’d been raised in church, dated in church, and were married in church, but between grad school and night school and coaching the cheerleading team and trying to keep up a house we’d just bought, we’d let that “day of rest” concept go a little farther than we should have. Instead of going to church, it was the time we usually slept in and got ready for all the crazy of the week ahead.
So this knowledge I woke up with that day was that we were never going to have a baby if we didn’t put our relationship with God back on the front burner. I told my husband my theory, and he kind of scoffed: “It doesn’t work that way, God doesn’t hand out presents for good behavior.” But he did get up and get dressed for church, mostly because I explained it this way: WHY should God trust us with a baby if we’re not going to raise it in church?
We were pregnant the next month.
Now, however, we’re in another dry spell. A house we’ve had on the market for four years finally had an offer and we had a signed contract… they backed out yesterday. We had a tenant renting the house for several years, just to offset the cost of us having TWO mortgages, and she skipped out last summer owing months of back rent and an $8,000 repair bill. We filed the paperwork to recover that money in small claims court, and three days later she declared bankruptcy… for the FOURTH TIME. We cannot do anything to her, and we now have a $10,000 loan to pay back for the repair and cleaning of our house, on top of the fact that we aren’t selling it next month like we’d planned.
And where is God in all this? He’s sitting back, watching us struggle, waiting for us to come to him.
I know, I just painted a picture of a really vindictive God, and that’s the farthest thing from the truth. He didn’t DO all of this to us, but I know in my heart that he isn’t lifting a finger to get us out of our troubles so long as we have been neglecting going to church. And yes, for a variety of reasons, it’s been several weeks since we’ve gone. (I know, you’re probably wondering why you’re reading a post by a Christian blogger who hasn’t been to church since early March!)
Yesterday, when our realtor texted me to tell us the deal had fallen through, I didn’t panic. I didn’t get upset or get angry. I’ve already spent the last week and a half creaming internally and plotting revenge about the horrible woman who left us with a nasty debt. I’ve wasted more than a week of my life in totally pointless anger, and I don’t want to do that again. Instead, I felt a really firm sense of peace and conviction and I knew the answer just as surely as if God had actually spoken it: I can’t help you until you come back to me. I can’t do anything about your troubles until you bring them and lay them at my feet.
Make no mistake, we haven’t “left” God, and there’s no way in the world he’s “left” us. But we are learning for ourselves what it feels like to try to do it on your own, and let me be the first to tell you that it’s not possible. You will hit every obstacle head-on, even a few that you made for yourself, if you don’t place your trust where it belongs.
Wrapping up this post now… I have to go wake my family for church.