Friday, March 29, 2013

Poor and Disappointed. Or Not.

I love our life. I do. I love the flexibility we have in our schedules. I love that we get to spend so much time together and that Philip doesn't have a job that takes him away from us all the time. I love each of our daughters and the baby on the way. I wouldn't trade anything - ANYTHING - for them.

We are blessed and we know that. God provides for us on what looks like a meager income (my husband is incredibly smart, talented, and creative. It just hasn't translated to money rolling in). We don't lack anything - we never wonder if we'll have food in the fridge, if we can pay the bills, or handle those pesky not-quite emergencies that pop up. (Dishwasher dies! Car needs fixed! Is that a leak? And where, exactly, is that smell coming from and how much to MAKE IT GO AWAY ALREADY?!)

Our life is a fairly peaceful, easy-going, happy one. And then there is another reality of our life: we do not have unlimited money.

I know, you're shocked.

But nothing has been pounding that in to us more than this house selling / wishing to buy a bigger house experience.

To sell our house costs money. We had to pay money to fix it up to be "sell able". The current contract offered (which could still fall through) is less than we owe. We'll have to go to the closing (assuming it happens) with a check to cover the difference. And to cover the closing costs because the buyer can't afford them.

To buy a house will cost money. We're approved for a certain amount. Right now there aren't any places we'd care to live for that amount. I check the listings every day and it's a demoralizing experience.

We looked at a fixer-upper. We don't have the money to pay cash for it and fix it up. Mortgages on fixer-uppers are kind of tricky, when you can get one at all. Then the aforesaid fixer-upper goes off the market before we can finish up the sale of our current house.

We looked at a house that I loved last fall. I loved it. Philip loved it. It had some features that I've dreamed about and only ever told Philip and God that I wanted. Best of all: it was in our price range. When I say it's my dream house, I'm only exaggerating a little bit. Because, while it wasn't perfect, I've already mentally redecorated and moved in to that house. I have had actual dreams about it.

But our house didn't sell last fall and we couldn't put an offer on it then. So an investor bought it.

Our realtor found out that it's going on the market again soon for double what we could pay. Needless to say, we will not be getting that house. It's not even close. Which is, in a way, better. Because if it was just slightly out of range and someone snapped it up that would be seriously annoying. Better to be in a different ballpark altogether.

I feel like a church mouse. I feel trapped. I feel like I am fighting a constant spiritual battle against doubt and discontent and envy. (And have I mentioned the toxic cocktail of fighting those battles along with the usual pregnancy hormones? 'Cause I have those too.)

That is not a great place to be. I do not want to be there. I want to be trusting God and content with the wonderful things He's already given us (and they are many!) and happy for other people who have more, better, nicer, newer, or bigger things than us or for people whose situations work out easily, where everything just comes together without a hiccup.

But I have to admit to you: I'm not there yet.

So, I am disappointed. I am disappointed by experiences we're going through. I am disappointed by my own reaction to those experiences, to the doubt and fear and envy that bubble up so easily and have to be fought back.

I was reading my Bible this morning and trying to refocus on the great things God has done. And it wasn't hard. After all, Resurrection Sunday is just around the corner. And as I prayed and asked forgiveness for my own sinful reactions to my life and the challenges in it, I thought of another group of people who were disappointed on a Friday a long time ago.

See, I don't believe in a Friday crucifixion, or, therefore, "Good Friday". Pastors and teachers in my life have always taught that the timeline works better with a Wednesday or Thursday crucifixion. (I won't get into all the reasons for that, but you can read some evidence for Thursday here and for Wednesday here.)

If these teachers are accurate, there was nothing good about that Friday. It was a miserable day. The disciples had lost their leader, their friend, their hope. They were hiding. They were afraid the soldiers would come for them next.

Disappointed? It doesn't get much more disappointing than that. My disappointment is trivial, ridiculous even, in comparison.

Do you realize that the only people who took Jesus's words about rising again seriously were his enemies? They put a Roman guard squad - these are not wimpy, amateur security guard guys we're talking about - at the tomb because they took the prediction seriously. They thought Peter and John and the others might try to steal the body.

As if.

The disciples, the eleven left after Judas killed himself, were disappointed. Ashamed. Afraid. They had dreamed great dreams of what Jesus was going to do - overthrow the Romans, set up His kingdom, and, while He was at it, really put all those self-righteous Pharisee types in their place for good. Then maybe He'd hand out rewards like being His second in command or material blessings that had eluded them in their lives so far.

So, yeah, disappointed is probably a mild way of describing what they must have felt.

But see, they have a better excuse than I do. They were living in the dark days before Sunday morning.

I live after that Sunday morning. I live in the knowledge and assurance of the Resurrected Lord. I live with the humbling, inexpressibly amazing knowledge that He loves me, He has saved me, and in Him I am forgiven, freed from fear of death, freed from the enslaving power of sin, including those sins I've already confessed to you in this post.

So, the earthly issues are real. It still takes money to buy a house (or sell one). Really, it takes money to do pretty much anything. And there are children to raise up. Meanwhile our country seems ever more determined to follow a path of sinful selfishness. I know that I will continue to fight against doubt and discontent and envy at times. I will face challenges, challenges that I hope never quite rise to the level of trials or tribulation, although those may come as well. But that's not the end of my story.

I live after that Sunday morning and before the day when Jesus comes again (or the day when I die and am taken immediately to His presence). And living in that space, as His child, makes all the difference. 
Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you, who by God's power are being guarded through faith for a salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. In this you rejoice, though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been grieved by various trials, so that the tested genuineness of your faith—more precious than gold that perishes though it is tested by fire—may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory, obtaining the outcome of your faith, the salvation of your souls.
(1 Peter 1:3-9 ESV)


Elisabeth said...

I am reading this in the car (not driving, of.course) and a song came on the radio that I love! I get tears in my eyes every single time I hear it. Idk who sings it or all the lyrics but the best part is the chorus, anyway.
"Living He loved me, dying He saved me, buried He carried my sins far away! Rising He justified, freely forgiven, one day He's coming, O glorious day!"
When you meet those people who everything works out perfectly for, without any bumps along the way, I want to meet them and find out what they are doing right that Im not!
Great post. Thx for the reminder that my problems are minor.

Gram said...

Reading this reminds me of what I am reading in Exodus right now. Those Hebrews were ecstatic when Moses told them that God had spoken to him so they should get ready to move to the Promised Land! Oh, if only the story ended there...

You must continue to make bricks even though right now it feels like someone has taken away all the straw.

Your Father-Redeemer has it all under control. And He's rich! You've yet to see what He has in store for you. :)

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