Someone made an offer to buy our old house last week. The timing was interesting.
This week – exactly one year ago – we moved out of it.
We’ve tried to sell before. For over eight years, we’ve tried to sell. But the market isn’t what it was when we bought, and our mortgage (created for first time home buyers) has a clause that prevented us from renting it out. It seemed fine a decade ago, expecting our first, with the housing market booming. It became less fine as the years passed, the housing market crashed, and we expected our 4th, and 5th, and 6th. Every time a potential buyer began the process, a different road block would pop up. It got a little ridiculous. We inquired about getting a new mortgage without such a clause, but as housing markets struggled, the bank said there wasn’t enough equity in it and refused.
Finally, last April, we were granted a reprieve from the confines of the mortgage, allowing us to rent it out while promising to simultaneously try to sell (again).
But if we don’t sell, and don’t re-inhabit at some point, we could technically be in breach of our mortgage contract and the bank could foreclose on us, even though we have paid the mortgage every month and it is inhabited by a contented renter.
Will they do it? I don’t know. I’m not a bank. (Though I haven’t convinced my kids of that yet.)
Was it risky to have taken this chance for a year? Was it a good idea to leave the small house (with a smaller monthly cost of living) for a larger, costlier one? Was it smart to have taken on a second mortgage on a new house when the last hadn’t sold? The bank could destroy our credit by taking back that old one.
I might have thumbed my nose at someone else faced with foreclosure, assuming them reckless with their money and resources. Or at least, I might have over a year ago.
Sometimes following God isn’t the most financially sound choice. Or most comfortable. Or most logical.
Yes, we are called to be wise with our money and bodies and time and resources.
But sometimes wisdom isn’t smart.
The day we moved, April 2016, we tried to squeeze everyone into one last picture on the longest wall
The Bible says that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 9:10).
But people who feared God often did stupid-looking things.
Noah spent years building a boat on dry land and moved into it amidst the jeers of his neighbors.
Abraham moved – before knowing where he was headed.
Moses challenged Pharaoh with a stick.
Joshua attacked Jericho by walking around it.
Gideon challenged the Midianites with a horn and a torch.
David stood up to Goliath with a leather sling.
Ezekiel gave the people God’s message by being silent.
Jonah brought a nation to its knees with 8 words that didn’t even include the word repent.
And Jesus said He could save the world by dying a criminal’s death.
None of that seemed logical. None of them looked smart.
But it’s always wise to follow God. Even if it looks stupid to everyone else.
A friend left a couple days ago, moving from our cold muddy New England Spring to Brazil. There are snakes and spiders there that can kill you. The humidity and sun are merciless. None of her family live there. She doesn’t know the language. She is young, single, blonde, and beautiful. She will spend the next 20 years or so on this quest.
But there are indigenous groups of people who have never heard the gospel. They don’t have a written language, so they don’t have access to the Bible. Her job is to be accepted into one of their communities, learn their language, write them an alphabet, dictionary, and grammar rules, and then translate the Bible into their language. It isn’t lucrative. It is dangerous. It is very hard, and lonely, and frustrating.
It seems reckless.
Last song before we moved out
I know that being a Christ-follower doesn’t mean we’ve been given a license to be stupid. Most of the time, it means being logical. I don’t smoke (because it’s bad for my lungs), or drink (I need every brain cell I’ve got), or party (unless staying up past 10 p.m. counts). I try to budget and shop at thrift stores. I don’t play with matches or run with scissors (much). I eat my veggies and read a lot and buckle my seatbelt and vote. I try to be wise with my daily life. Of course, I’m capable of doing plenty of dumb stuff without permission or thought (Not everything makes it onto a blog!). But generally, I try to live without stepping on any snakes that could turn and bite me.
And still, the uncomfortable moment came to step out in reckless hope.
God was there when each of our six kids were born. God was there when one was born who would need a wheelchair. God was there when we bought the little house. God was there when we had to make the decision to move out of it.
leap of faith?
We’d made some crazy-looking decisions. So we prayed like crazy. And prayed some more. And held our breath. And jumped.
Maybe it will end in foreclosure. But maybe a bad credit rating isn’t of prime importance in God’s kingdom.
But a humble, willing heart is.
The buyers backed out on Friday. So we wait, again, wondering if we were wise to take on a second mortgage, to leave the house we weren’t allowed to leave, to trust God to provide for the children He gave us.
If I’m reckless, I hope it is because God told me to be.
I guess it doesn’t really matter what anyone else thinks.
I can’t stop trusting just because I already took the first step of faith. After all, it isn’t the first step that hurts – it’s the possibility of a sudden stop at the end!
Who knows what God has planned between now and then?
the view from our old back deck
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. – Romans 15:13