I’ve been taught all my life that I’m supposed to trust God, and I’m sure I probably have many times. But I’m going to tell you about the first time I truly let go, gave the problem to God, and let go of any concern about the result. This happened about four years ago, when my husband was transitioning to a new job. We lived in a wonderful house at the time, but it was owned by the company my husband worked for; we only leased it. As a result of my husband changing jobs, we were told we had to vacate the property.
Since we weren’t sure when my husband’s new employment would begin, and we weren’t even completely sure if he would get the new job, we were a little worried. My income was considerably smaller than my husband’s. So we poured over our finances, tallied our monthly outgoing bills, and came up with a number that we thought we could afford for rent. It was a very small number. Then we began scouring the local rental market for available properties.
The town we live in is quite small, only about twenty-thousand folks, so there are just a few property managers in town. We got complete listings from all of them and began our search; we had one month to find a new place. The search proved disheartening. At least eighty percent of the list was above the number we had come up with. Then we found out that a coworker of my husband’s was going abroad for a year and wanted to rent her house. We looked at it and I hated it. Everything about it was wrong, right down to the garishly painted dark purple walls. Still, it was too expensive. We offered her our number and she turned us down. I was relieved.
We looked at every single property that was available. Even the ones above our price range were enough to make me cry. One, that was considerably above our price range, smelled like a dead body was concealed within it somewhere. We talked to the property manager about the smell and were told that we could spray some air freshener if we wanted to rent it.
It was the same story over and over and the farther down the list we got the more anxious, worried, and depressed I became. Finally, we got to the last place on the list, and with only a few days left until we had to move. It was a very small, very run-down apartment; but it was under our number! Optimistically, we hurried over on our lunch hour to look. The manager didn’t even go with us to show us the apartment, just tossed us the keys and pointed us in the general direction of the building. We found the apartment and let ourselves inside. It was a ground-floor flat and even though it was advertised as a three-bedroom, it was tiny. The first thing that I noticed as we stepped inside was the chemical smell. But, I wanted to have a positive attitude, so I thought, “It’s only for a year, until we get the new job situation settled.” But my thoughts quickly sank as we looked around. The apartment was literally covered in dead bugs. The smell must have been pesticide, and it must have been sprayed recently. The evidence was everywhere. Dead bugs of all shapes and sizes covered the floors, the window sills, lined the hall, were in the bathtub and sinks. I couldn’t believe it. Still, this was the very last available property. What choice did we have?
Grimly, my husband and I made our way back to the office. My husband asked the manager if he could do something about the dead bugs and he said, “Bugs? What bugs?” I asked my husband if we could step outside and talk. He felt the same way I did, but thought if we didn’t take this apartment someone else would and we’d be out on the streets. I was crying by this point. I just could not imagine moving our little daughter into a place like that. I begged my husband to just give it 24 hours, and if nothing else turned up I promised him I’d agree to take this apartment and would do it without complaint. So he went in and gave the manager a deposit to hold the apartment for 24 hours. And then we headed to our cars to go back to work.
My husband walked me to my car and kissed me as I got in. I was crying so hard I could barely see the road as I drove back to my office. On that short drive back, I prayed with all my heart. I was at the end of my rope, desperate and scared. See, we’d always paid our bills, on time, and took pride in it. We had never been in a situation like this before. But now we were, and there was nothing I could do about it. I needed God’s help.
And so I prayed, “Dear God, I am not too proud to live in that apartment if that’s what it has to be. But God, please provide a better place for us and for our little girl. I can’t do it. My husband can’t do it. We’ve done everything we can do in our own power. Only you can do it God, and I know nothing is too big for you. So please give us a place to live. And if that place ends up being the apartment we just looked at, so be it. In Jesus’ name, Amen.”
And then I parked my car, went back in to my desk, and put it out of my mind. Literally. Seriously. I just had a feeling of peace and release and a sense of calm came over me. I put it out of my mind and went to work and I didn’t even think about it.
And then, about two hours later, my cell phone rang. It was my husband, so I quickly stepped outside and took the call.
“Hey Babe,” he said, “Guess what? Me and Lopez (a friend of his) were driving around and we saw a U-Haul truck outside this house, so we pulled up and knocked on the door. The lady there was real nice, said her and her husband were moving; her husband had unexpectedly gotten a job out of state. She let us come inside and look at the house and I think you’ll like it. She said I could bring you back and let you look at it; what do you think?”
I couldn’t believe my ears. At four O’clock when I got off work, my husband was waiting and I quickly followed him over to the house. It was perfect. It was clean, had a big yard with trees and a huge, covered patio. And while it was considerably smaller than the house we were vacating, it had a huge shed in the backyard that would easily store our excess furniture and belongings.
Half-afraid to hear the answer, I asked the lady how much her and her husband were paying in monthly rent. Her response was exactly the same number that my husband and I had come up with as what we could afford to pay! We asked who she rented from and she gave us the name of her property manager. We went straight over to the office and told the property manager the address and said we wanted to rent that place. The manager seemed baffled and told us that address wasn’t available for rent. We assured her that it would be, and left her our names and phone numbers.
The next day she called us and told us the place was available. We immediately went in and filled out our application. She said she’d have to check with the owner and see if he wanted to raise the rent, because the house was priced so far below market value, and also see what he wanted to charge for a pet deposit, as we had both a dog and a cat. She informed us, though, that the owner had never allowed pets in that residence before and she doubted he would rent to us unless we got rid of them. We waited, hoping and praying, while she made the call. We certainly hadn’t figured a pet deposit into our moving expenses.
Finally she hung up the phone and looked at us for a few minutes. Then she shrugged her shoulders and said, “The owner says to keep the price the same, and the pets are fine, and he doesn’t want a pet deposit.” She looked as shocked as we felt.
We moved in the very next week. My husband ended up starting his new job the day after he left his old job, so there was no lapse or gap in income. Things could not have worked out more perfectly. And from that day forward my faith and trust in God has never been more firmly cemented.
When we give our problems and burdens to God, he truly does work things out, and in bigger and better ways than we ever could ever dream or imagine.