Forty-five minutes in the car to work each way, every day. Forty-five minutes. For those of you in America’s largest cities, that may be a common commute, but in Kansas, that was a long time. And with four kids under the age of 8, it had to stop. So, my wife and I decided to move away from the small college town we loved and started looking for a plot of land on which to build our home in the city where my job was located. After a lot of prayer and research, we had narrowed down our choices to two neighborhoods under construction, and one bright spring morning in 1999, we drove the entire family to the sales office of the development on the top of our list.
In my experience, it was rare for God to intervene in our lives in such a significant way on a single day. The last time that had happened, to my memory, was eight years earlier when our oldest son Stephen was born with Down Syndrome (that’s a story for another blog post!).
But on that day, God abruptly changed the direction of our lives, forever.
As we excitedly entered the sales office, we cheerfully announced to the salesperson, “We’re here to buy a lot in your development today!” “I’m sorry, sir,” the sales person said. “Our development company was just purchased by another company, and we’re unable to sell you a lot for at least two weeks.” And if that wasn’t enough, the salesperson then dropped this lead balloon: “Oh, and when the lots go back on the market, they will cost about $20,000 more.” That increase would have nearly doubled the price of the lot!
When we got back to our minivan (didn’t every young family have a minivan back in 1999?), my wife and I knew exactly what had just happened. God had just closed a door, and he had done so in a very big way. However, we still felt God’s leading to move closer to my work, so we headed to the second development on our list. We entered the sales office, less confidently this time, and said, “We’re interested in looking at some lots in your development.”
God wasn’t done leading us, again in a very big way, and on that very same day.
The salesperson smiled. “Good thing you stopped by today. I have only one lot left, and it’s in the culdesac across the street from the new elementary school.” As our kids’ ages ranged from preschool to 3rd grade, that location was music to our ears. And the lot was the same price as the lots in the first development, before the price increase.
It’s easy to doubt that God has plans for even our lives’ smallest details. And believe me, on that spring day in 1999, the words of Jeremiah 29:11 were far from our minds: “I know the plans, I have for you, declares the Lord; plans to prosper you and not to harm you; plans for a hope and a future.” When we should have been rejoicing that God was revealing his plan to us in concrete ways right before our eyes, instead we felt disappointment and uncertainty. We couldn’t possibly see where God was leading us. As it turns out, God had just pushed over the first domino in the string of dominoes he set out for us.
We stayed on that culdesac for five years. We made lifelong friends there. One of the families there introduced us to the church we now attend, which over time has led to several more friends who are now like family to us. In 1999, that culdesac had 13 young families and more than 30 kids under the age of 13. We had Memorial Day picnics, movie nights on a neighbor’s patio, Father’s Day talent shows, more basketball games than I could possibly count, street hockey, and football games. There were also some tears, broken windows, hurt feelings, and misunderstandings. But most of all, there was a whole lot of love for each other. And, even though we left that culdesac eight years ago for an older, less expensive home in the same town, our lives today are still very much impacted by the fact that God, on a single day in the spring of 1999, showed us exactly where he wanted us to build our home.
Yes, God had plans for us. Big plans. God has plans for you, too. And his plans are good.
How has God led you in the past? Enter your comments below and tell how God has shown himself to you and your family.