Selling Houses and the Will of God

June 10, 2010 by cloften  
Filed under Family and Parenting

My history with selling houses is well-known.  For those who don’t know, we have moved twice when needing to sell a house, once from Conway, AR to Colorado for seminary.  The second was from St. Louis here to Cabot, AR.  When moving to Colorado, our house sat empty for almost 6 months before it sold.  When moving to Cabot, we did a little bit better.  The house only sat empty for a little less than 5 months before it sold.

I don’t know if you have ever been in that kind of a situation before.  You may be one of those people with those stories of how you sold your house in an hour for a more than full price offer.  If you are, I’m not sure this post is for you. You can wait for the “People That Annoy Me” post (just kidding…mostly).  If you’ve been in this situation before, you know that it can become quite a serious time of theological reflection.  Our house is on the market for the third time as we prepare to make a move.  We are far from the theological crisis time, but this topic is just on my mind now as we try to sell our house again.

Here are the choices that most people have:

1) I must be making the wrong decision.  If this move were God’s will, my house would have sold.

2) God is punishing me because I am in some kind of sin.

3) God is trying to teach me something.  As soon as I learn it, the house will sell.

Let’s see if we can break these down and still keep this to the size of a blog post.  The first option, I believe, is a very dangerous theological perspective to have.  I evaluate whether or not I am making, or made,  the right decision based on if my circumstances are working out well, i.e. the way I want them to.  There are many times that Paul followed God’s call on his life and ended up beaten, shipwrecked, emprisoned, etc.  Following God is not a guarantee that everything is going to go smoothly.  In fact, often the opposite is true.  The path that God calls us to is often riddled with trials.  You have to do the work of prayer and discernment on the front end, asking God if this is the right move, change, etc.  Then you have to move forward with confidence, because very often difficult circumstances await.

The second option is a little difficult.  I certainly am not going to say that there is no way that you are experiencing a trial because of sin in your life (I’m not going to say you are, either).  Evaluating yourself and your sin is a great idea.  Asking God if there is any sin that is damaging your relationship and keeping him from blessing you–also a good idea.  One note of caution, if God can only bless us if we have no sin in our life, you know who is in trouble?  That’s right.  All of us.  Sometimes our sin can bring judgment in our lives.  Deal with it, if that is the case.  However, don’t assume that every obstacle in your life is connected to sin.

The third option, I have ranted on before.  It in fact, kicked off the Stuff Christians Should Stop Saying series (see here).  What I was not saying then and don’t what to say here is that trials, don’t exist (at least in part) so that God can teach us something.  God was definitely teaching Paul dependence on Him.  Joseph learned a lot about humility in a pit, as a slave, in prison.  Here is the thing, God is always teaching us and refining our character.  However, most of the things that God is teaching and shaping in us, aren’t things that we “learn” as if it were Algebra.  When do you “learn humility?”  I am learning about humility.  I will never “learn” it as if I have completly conquered that issue, just as I will never learn patience and dependence on God.  God will be refining me in that area for the next 50 years of my life.  God is teaching us during trials.  The danger comes when we believe we can learn our way out of a trial, as if we are in control.

Maybe you have made a wrong decision and that’s why things are going badly.  Maybe your sin has caught up with you.  Maybe God is using this as an opportunity to refine a major area of character in your life to prepare you for something great.  But, it may just be that we live in a fallen world where bad stuff happens.  I believe that we, read I, spend way too much time worrying about why and not near enough time listening to God and learning to trust and depend on Him. 

What if we took all of the energy that we wasted stressing about “why” and turned that into prayer, reading and studying about Joseph and Paul who went through worse trials than most of us?  What if we took that time to connect with God’s Son, Jesus who endured the worst of trials so that we could have life in him?


3 Responses to “Selling Houses and the Will of God”
  1. Julie Barnard says:

    This was a great post for me to read…as I have often struggled through each of those questions (with the most recent time being the 3 1/2 years of waiting for our adoption “referral”)! Thanks for the perspective!

  2. So true, Charlie! As one who, in selling our first house and moving from South Carolina to California, had the naive belief that if this new ministry position was God’s will, our house would sell quickly and I could live on a lateral salary move in the California economy, only to discover two years later, with unsold house and major credit card debt, that either my “God’s will” theory was wrong, or I’d made a huge spiritual mistake; it shook me to my core.
    Since then, we’ve sold and bought 4 other houses. Some were quick and easy sells/purchases, and others, not so much. Some lost money, some made money, but I never again assumed that the ease of the process equated to God’s will or favor.
    Thanks for the reminder that He is in control, and He desires obedience and trust from us, through faith in His provision through Christ.

  3. Stephaniefain says:

    thanks, I needed this……

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