"Now the Lord was gracious to Sarah as He had said, and the Lord did for Sarah what He had promised." Genesis 21:1
Sighing from the tips of my toes, I leaned my head on the seatback of the car. We were on our way out of town. If ever my family needed to leave town – and the mess and mayhem – it was now.
Six months after we moved in, 8 inches of muddy water flooded our home. I tried to ‘keep my chin up’ as my home went into demolition phase. My belongings that weren’t destroyed by the flood were crammed willy-nilly into various and sundry places. We moved into an apartment complex across town full of college students thoroughly enjoying summer vacation.
Granted, we were thankful to have the apartment. There were none to be had in town since so many people were in the same situation. We were able to live in the apartment rent-free for a few weeks to hold it for a college student. She wouldn’t need the apartment for six weeks. Surely we could be back in our house by then, right?
Now, we were getting out of town for a previously planned vacation to visit friends. But when we returned from our trip, we would have 4 days to find a place to live and get moved.
I have learned there is a very, very fine line between walking in faith and walking in denial. I was leaning WAY over on the denial side.
The kids were settled with books and music. I was happy for a moment to think of anything other than reality. My 6-year-old, however, found it the perfect opportunity to think of exactly that – and worry.
We had just passed the first red light out of the apartment complex when she spoke up, “We really need to find a place to live.” Oh, boy. I didn’t want to think about it, and I sure didn’t want to talk about, so I dreamed up an answer and tossed it back without opening my eyes, “Yes, we do, and God’s going to take care of it.”
I would love to tell you I believed that.
Now I was exasperated and responded more sharply than necessary, "Did you hear me? Don't you think God will take care of it?"
She couldn't see how God could possibly relate to her immediate and pressing need of a place to live. "Well, no! It's our problem, not His!"
Trying to calm down, I realized how recently in my own faith I thought the same thing. I started again, calmly, to remind her (and myself), "We're God's children. In the same way that your problems are my problems, our problems are His problems. God is going to look out for us."
I wish I could tell you that we immediately pulled the car over to pray and petition God, or that moment a truck drove by that said "follow me to your new place to live." I wish I could even tell you that immediately she got it and was at peace. The truth was she muttered, "Okay" with the tone of "whatever", but I needed to hear my own words: "I am God's child. My problems are His problems. He will take care of my smallest needs."
The conversation dropped. The kids turned to their books and other car toys while my husband and I chatted about anything but the wreck that was our (lack of) living arrangement.
Twenty minutes later we were driving through Small Town, America (pop. 2831) when my husband's cell phone rang. It was one of the elders from our church telling us that a woman at our church was offering her parent's house for anyone who had been flooded and needed a place to live.
To this day, I don't know who that moment had a bigger impact on, me or my daughter. But I am so thankful that in the moment that her young faith needed something concrete and my not-so-young faith needed peace of heart, our loving Father gave us both.