December 9, 2009

A Better Offer

2009 1534 page31 capT WAS THE PERFECT HOUSE. CLOSE TO SCHOOL, EVEN CLOSER TO WORK. IT would be so nice to live just around the corner.

It wasn’t too big, and not too small. And it was completely redone—beautifully. Stunningly, even. Top-quality kitchen, bathrooms; the whole house was gorgeous. Outside was a beautiful, large stone patio with a built-in grill. The yard had two levels, fully fenced around both. There was even a new playhouse for our daughter and her friends to enjoy.

Providential things seemed to line up too. On the day we saw it, my husband, daughter, and I were in agreement on every single house we saw. And we all knew this one ?was it.

Then, our car sold, at just the right time, giving us the cash we needed for the earnest money.

2009 1534 page31We prayed, and afterward felt that we should resubmit our offer with the highest amount we could afford—which was high, compared to all of the other houses in the area. We had just the standard contingencies, one being an inspection and the other that we’d have to renegotiate the offer if the independent appraisal came in with a much-lower value.

But I had a good feeling about this house, and about this offer. I wanted it, and I wanted it now. Going from room to room in my mind’s eye, I thought about how wonderful it would be to live in such a lovely house. Was it becoming an idol in my heart?

But everything just seemed so right. That’s just how God works, I thought. I can see His handprint all over this. In my mind, the boxes were already packed—we were moving in.

Then the sellers accepted another offer—not ours.

Wait a minute—something’s wrong here. Our offer was supposed to be accepted.

But it wasn’t. We had given our best offer, and it wasn’t accepted.

This morning as I went for a walk I remembered other times in my life when I’d given my best, but things didn’t work out the way I had planned—like when I applied for a job I really wanted, but wasn’t hired. I went to graduate school instead and got an advanced degree that has since opened many doors. Or when we were called to serve as missionaries in yet another country after we had already served several years overseas and were just getting settled back into our home country. Little did I know then as I packed up once again the rewards waiting for us once we accepted the call.

There have been several times when I was sure about the “right” way—but it wasn’t. God had something better in mind. I just had to wait.

Perhaps God is smiling just now as He thinks about the better offer He’s going to make. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord” (Ps. 27:14). All I have to do is wait. 

Gina Wahlen writes from Silver Spring, Maryland, where she enjoys life with her husband, Clinton; daughter, Heather; and son, Daniel, when he comes home from boarding academy. This article was printed December 10, 2009.