My friends Pam and Pete recently navigated down the whitewater current of househunting, not too different from hanging onto a flimsy raft through alligator-infested rapids. They scoured the internet for weeks and drove through neighborhoods, spotting for-sale signs, tromping through the living rooms of strangers, and discovering that what looks good in a photograph can be entirely deceiving. Finally, they found a property that fit into their price range and met at least a few of their desired features, knowing full-well that no dwelling will be perfect, and homeownership is often patched together with compromises and a few gallons of paint.
Realizing that a short-sale is typically anything but short, they hunkered down and waited for the bank to act. They waited and waited and waited. And prayed a lot. “Hey, God, we’re still here. Remember us?” Four months later, the bank finally contacted them, raising the price significantly and, after all this time, demanding that my friends make an immediate decision. Red flags seemed to appear, waving warning signals on every aspect of the sale. With much dismay, they backed out on the deal. “This means we are going to have to start ALL OVER,” Pam lamented.
It appeared to be a dead end, and for many, that can become the point of giving up. But in God’s perspective, a dead end is neither dead nor an end. It is not the cessation of a path, but a change in direction. You just can’t get there from here. It leads to a different place, not the end of hope.
In the dictionary, “dead” means “to cease to be,” as does “end,” so dead end is really a double-nailed coffin. But the Christian believer lives in light of eternity – this life is not all there is – and there is a God who cares and creates passages of which we cannot comprehend. When God apparently closes a door, or the pavement stops, or it is time to start from scratch, there is another path elsewhere to be found, one that may not have even appeared on your radar. God creates something new, leading to extraordinary possibilities beyond what we can ever realize. We are just too closed-minded, too short, and too nearsighted to even conceive what He is up to. And if you are willing to follow, He won’t just leave you at the end of a truncated road. It is not the end of the world, but realization of trusting Him. It may mean the abandonment of YOUR plans and timing, and wow, being surprised by what God designed all along. It may take a little longer than we would like…and at times, the full picture may never be revealed to us, as there is something much deeper going on than our time here can tell.
How do we respond to dead ends? Do we say to God, “WHAT?!?!?!” or do we respond, “What?” That is the difference between frustration and following God down another road. Trust is the monumental effort it takes to move you from mere probability to the realm of endless possibility. Biblical worldview provides a different way of looking at things, not limited by this place and time, but unbounded by an eternal perspective. God cares. God is good. And you can stake your life on that.
Within just a couple of days, Pam called back. Just so happens, a different property had just come back on the market, one that they had not seen yet, nor even considered because it was not yet available. Pam and Pete had just returned from viewing the home, immediately placing an offer. She was astonished. “It met every item on my wish list,” she said. Through all that time, all the delays, the slow-moving bank processes, and the change in contract, God was holding them back -- to give them something even better. They just didn’t realize it. Not a dead end, after all.
Now to Him,
Who by the power at work within us
is able to do far more abundantly
than all we ask or imagine…