June 5, 2020

It’s All Good / Patti Lamb

God’s plans are bigger than ours, and he doesn’t disappoint

Patti LambIf you’ve ever read this column, you’re probably aware that we’ve put our home up for sale three times over the past several years. First, we tried for sale by owner, and that deal fell through. I didn’t understand why it shook out the way it did, especially given the fervent prayer by me and my trusty band of prayer warriors.

Next, we enlisted the professional help of a realtor who came highly recommended. Again, I activated the prayer tree and asked friends to storm heaven. In addition to the St. Joseph statue we originally buried, I borrowed one from my friend Rosemary, since she’s a devout Catholic and I thought her statue would deliver better results. Apparently, however, it wasn’t our time to move. When that realtor didn’t work out, we took a six-month pause to catch our breath.

Thinking the third time would be a charm, we enlisted the help of another acclaimed realtor. Prayer ensued. I requested another house blessing (as if the first one 15 years ago had worn off) and our deacon kindly acquiesced. This time, however, I changed my prayer up a bit.

My prayer went something like this: “Please, God, let this buyer be the one. But let your will be done, God, not mine.” (Admittedly, I still put holy water on the front doorknob.)

No buyer. No sale. We embraced God’s will, thanking him for our wonderful home and our beloved neighbors. We repainted, redecorated and settled in.

Fast forward to May 1. I was mowing the yard, and I noticed a car circling the street. The driver pulled up alongside me, so I shut off the mower.

Nutshell version: “Sorry to bother, but I wondered if you might be willing to sell your house,” she said.

I was confused. I told her there were two other houses on our street for sale.

She shared that she was interested in our house before, but the timing wasn’t right. Her realtor suggested that she ask if we would entertain her request, even though it wasn’t on the market.

I talked it over with my husband, and we agreed that we would be willing to sell, but only based on particular stipulations. They viewed the house 36 hours later, made an offer the next day, and asked to expedite the inspection, appraisal and closing.

By the grace of God, it all worked out, and within 21 days,

start to finish, we were out of our home with all of our possessions in storage and living at my mother-in-law’s house, thanks to her kindness.

The buyer’s family was happy, as she is expecting her fifth child this month and her husband will soon be deployed again. It seems as if both of our prayers were answered in God’s perfect timing. God is good. All the time—even when his timeline looks different from ours.

I circled back to the May 1 entry in my God Calling devotional:

“Delay has to be—sometimes. Your lives are so linked up with those of others, so bound by circumstances that to let your desire have instant fulfillment might in many cases cause another, as earnest prayer, to go unanswered. … Delay is not denial—not even withholding. It is the opportunity for God to work out your problems and accomplish your desires in the most wonderful way possible for you.”

I share this not to brag, but to witness that God is glorified in all things. I’m learning that God’s plans are bigger than mine, and he doesn’t disappoint.

(Patti Lamb, a member of St. Susanna Parish in Plainfield, is a regular columnist for The Criterion.)

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