OUR FIRST HOUSE
Back in October of 1993, my husband and I were about to live The American Dream. We were in the process of looking for a house to buy -- our very first house. We began our house hunt in a city called Valencia in California, and, boy, were we excited. There were plenty of brand-new tract homes with beautiful, spacious floorplans to choose from. And when we entered the real estate agent/salesman's office, he immediately assured us that he would do everything he could to help us acquire one of these lovely homes.
The house we eventually chose was priced a bit higher than we initially had planned on spending. My husband was still a college student at the time, and we were pretty much trying to qualify for the loan based on my salary. When we added up all of the costs -- down payment, closing costs, escrow fees, and monthly mortgage -- we saw that we would not have any money left over to buy furniture and that the mortgage itself would take a good chunk out of my paychecks every month. But, hey, who needs furniture, right? The important thing is getting the house. And we really wanted to get this house.
So we filled out the loan application, got all of our documentation together, submitted everything, and prayed that we would get this house. We prayed and prayed. We told our family members to pray. Yes, we really wanted this house.
Well, time passed, what seemed like forever, and ultimately we received the news. "Sorry, your loan application was denied." Perhaps we would someday own a home of our own, but it wasn't going to be that house in Valencia. Although we had prayed and prayed, this time God's answer was "no." Of course, we were disappointed. We wondered why God's answer to our prayers was "no." Nobody likes to be rejected. But, hey, life goes on.
So my husband and I drove a little farther north to another community and found another house that we liked, and we ended up buying that home. Sure, the commute was a little farther, but the house we ended up with was bigger, less expensive, and wouldn't be a burden on us financially. We even had a little money left over to buy a couple pieces of furniture. So overall we were pretty happy. Well, we moved into our new home in December, and didn't really give that first home that we attempted to buy much thought.
Then on January 17, 1994, something happened that I will never forget. There was an earthquake in California. They named it the Northridge earthquake. It was 6.7 on the Richter scale and caused quite a bit of damage in certain areas. Where we lived was not damaged at all, but we heard on the news that the town of Valencia had sustained quite a good amount of damage. Valencia is about 23 miles northwest of the city of Northridge, where the earthquake was centered. So when we heard the news, my husband and I wondered if the neighborhood we originally tried to move to had sustained any damage. And out of curiosity, we decided to pay a little visit to the home we almost bought.
That weekend we drove down to Valencia to check everything out. We drove through the neighborhood that we at one time wanted to live in. Then as we pulled up to the house that we once envisioned as our own, we couldn't believe what we saw. That brand-new house that we had dreamed of owning now had cracks running all through it. There was yellow caution tape all around the house with a big sign that read "CONDEMNED." And the eeriest part of all was that this was the only house on the entire block that had sustained any damage. The house we had prayed to get just three months earlier was now basically just a heap of ruins. Needless to say, right then and there we thanked God that we did not get that house.
Sometimes we do not understand why God does not answer our prayers the way we hoped He would. We may even feel as though God has forgotten about us. But, you see, as humans, we only see the right now. God sees the beginning, the middle, and the end. And on that day so many years ago, I learned a valuable lesson. I learned to be grateful that the Lord does not give us everything we pray for, but instead gives us (or does not give us) exactly what we need. The Lord knows the future. He knows what is best for us even when we don't have a clue. God knew that that house would suffer great damage in the earthquake. He knew that my husband and I should not buy that house. He even knew that if we had bought that house, we would not have had enough money left over to also buy earthquake insurance.
Friend, sometimes the answer "no" from God is the best answer in the world. So the next time you don't get what you pray for, trust that God knows exactly what you need!
Proverbs 3:5-6 "Trust in the Lord with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths."