"So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes." Daniel 9:3
Sometimes, you just have to get down to business when you're trying to make a decision. The Bible tells us flat out that when we're really seeking God's help, when we're really trying to discern His will for us, that this is how we do it, with prayer and fasting.
We're getting to crunch time here in our household. It's a very odd place to be, as we need to move on, but we're in a state of being patient and waiting on God. I mean extreme patience here, I have such peace when I think about this moving process that is staring at us in the face. Oh, every once in a while I'll pack up a few things or spend some time looking for a new place, but even though we're just several weeks away from our proposed move date, I just know that the place where we will be moving to will be there soon. God will reveal it in His perfect timing, and every time the anxiousness starts to threaten, I just feel that wonderful peace rise up and take over and smother the anxiety and the stress. And I mean completely smother. I'm starting to think that people think I'm completely loony, because everyone is asking us now where and when we are moving. All we can do is smile and say that we just don't know yet because God hasn't shown us yet.
Oh, but He will! And yesterday morning when I woke on the morning of Passover (which began at sundown last night) I just felt like the time was right to fast. And shortly after I determined that it was a day of fasting, I found a rental property that sounded like it was out of a dream. Really. I won't go into details, but boy, it sounded too good to be true at first, but upon further investigation it wasn't too good to be true. I called Andy at work and talked to him about it, and he agreed to put the matter to prayer throughout his day, and then maybe when he got home from work he would call the owner.
So he did. And while the kids and I were gone, Andy called and talked to the guy. Truly, it was an ideal scenario except for three things, and we were torn as to whether or not this was where we were meant to be. I mean, the owner even lived where Andy's company is based, and he knows Andy's boss well, and we were literally a shoo-in. The place was ours if we wanted it, basically, and with 25 other people calling about the property, that felt to us like a moment of favor. And yet... it didn't meet three of our criteria. One we were willing to work around if needed, but one of them was location. It wasn't exactly in the right direction we are looking to move, it would shave off about 10 minutes from our frequent commutes, all save one. And that was where God came in.
I went to bed early last night with the specific purpose of spending time talking to God. I had been fasting all day, and I just felt like this was the time. I wanted to know if this was the property God had been preparing for us. While I wasn't comfortable with a few things about this, the biggest thing that was drawing us to this property was the land... it was beautiful and abundant and we could do as we pleased with more acreage than one would think possible in a rental scenario. So I started praying, and I kept thinking about Daniel, up above, how when he wanted answers from God, he fasted and he prayed, and I reminded God about that. How He showed us with Daniel how to get the answers we needed, and here I was, fasting and praying and seeking His desire for us. And truly, just like that, an answer dropped into my head. I was shown how this property would increase Andy's commute to work by a disproportionate amount of time. And if the property had met all our criterion, it would have been worth the increase in commute. But for what it was- it was not worth it in the least. And in that instant, I felt incredible peace in knowing that this was not the right move for us. God told us no, this was not it.
When Andy came to bed, I told him to call the guy up today and cancel an appointment to see the place. I think that maybe that surprised him a bit, but after that, after getting such a crystal clear answer, I can't help but get a whole lot excited. This was not the place for us. Each place that we've expressed even a little interest in has had something awesome about it- and yet each one seems to improve a little bit. The very first house we looked at last fall had the space we wanted on the inside. The second house had character and charm that we wanted. The third house had a location and a nice yard. The fourth house was the ideal location for us, and put us in the perfect situation. This last house had so much land... I could have had a ten-acre garden and it would only be a sliver of the amount of land. I could have had my chicken coop that I think I want, and my turkeys.
God knows all this! And God knows exactly where we are going. And if He is going to give me a crystal clear answer on the no houses, I cannot wait to see what the yes is going to be! As I thanked Him last night for the understanding and for the answer, I couldn't help but giggle to myself a little bit because while I am being as patient as I possibly can, I feel like a child who cannot wait for the trip to Disneyland, because I know how awesome it is going to be.
The whole point here is that God truly does answer our prayers, but sometimes, when we're really in a point where we need an answer, we have to get down and dirty and really put some work into getting an answer. Could I have gotten that specific answer from God had I not been fasting? Oh sure, I could have, but the fasting and relying on God to supply my every need throughout the day really prepared me mentally for spending time talking to Him. By the time I got into that moment of prayer, my mind and my spirit were there- they were ready to praise and to petition, and I was ready to receive. Receive I did, just a very few minutes later- it's not like I spent hours on my knees, we're talking minutes.
Daniel knew what he was doing. When he needed guidance from God about anything of importance, he fasted and he prayed. His example is in the Bible for a reason- to show us what we are to do in those very same times of need. And just as I know my answer about that specific house was given to me last night, I also know that my petition for a revelation of our knew home is also being answered. The answer is very much on it's way, and it will be such a time of rejoicing when it finally arrives. Even Daniel had to wait sometimes for an answer to prayer, because the answer was delayed.
"He instructed me and said to me, "Daniel, I have now come to give you insight and understanding. 23 As soon as you began to pray, an answer was given, which I have come to tell you, for you are highly esteemed." Daniel 9:22,23
I am praying for our answer to speed its way toward us. The answer is out there, and God has blessed us with the patience and the complete trust that He will answer. I know I can trust in God every step of the way, and the answer He gave me last night shows me that my trust is not misplaced, and that I can be encouraged with every step we take. God is just so good! And spending a day or two completely relying on Him is a very small price to pay for a lifetime of guidance and understanding.