In my last post I had you look at Abraham as a model of faith. I reminded you that he was old; that he was impotent; that his wife was old and way past menopause—but he was still able to hold fast to a promise God had made to him. All he had to rely on was believing that God could do whatever he promised to do.
I also asked you if Abraham some special man that had super-natural powers to believe, or something about him that gave him a special gift of believing God. Of course he did not.
So how did he know that God promised that? I don’t know, all I can tell you is how it has happened in my own life. I hear it my spirit—it is an inner-conviction . . . I have told these stories before, but because they illustrate my point so clearly, I am going to risk repeating myself (and boring you).
Before my wife and I were married, we began looking for an apartment to live in after our wedding. We began looking through the newspaper to see what was available. We also looked at our finances to determine what we could reasonably afford.
We visited a few places but nothing seemed “just right.” So I suggested we sit down and decide exactly what we were looking for and wrote it down on a piece of paper. We both wanted natural wood floors; a fireplace; a study and at least one bedroom; a quiet neighborhood and a few other particulars that we listed.
When we finished our list—including the rent we could reasonably pay, we set it on a table and prayed. We asked the Lord to find the place for us because we were tired of looking and needed his help. Then we posted the sheet of paper on a bulletin board and waited for the answer to come.
This was only a couple of months before our wedding and my future wife had canceled the lease on her current apartment. She had to be out of her that apartment at the end of the next month.
We finally found an apartment listed in the newspaper and the listing described almost exactly what was written on our sheet . . . from the wooden floors to a stone fireplace . . . and a quiet neighborhood!
We looked at the apartment and the moment I walked in—I mean the second I saw it, a still small voice told me it would be ours! I couldn’t see how, because the rent the Landlord was asking was considerably higher than we could afford, but I knew—I can’t tell you how I knew—but I knew as well as I knew my name—we would be living in that apartment. It was actually the first floor apartment of a home that had been converted to a duplex.
We made an offer to the Landlord, his name was Warren I think, but he refused to lower the rent. So there we were, getting married in 1½ months, and no place to live. My fiancé was getting worried.
She kept looking at other apartment listings, but I refused to look at them. To this day I am shocked she was still willing to marry me . . . anyhow, I knew as well as I knew I was alive, that apartment would be ours. My fiancé was also convinced, but didn’t see how it would happen. One thing I have learned, at least for me, when I hear that voice—that still small voice—I also receive the faith to stand strong with what that voice has told me. Paul taught the “faith comes by hearing the Word.” Many have interpreted that to mean the “Scriptures” in general. Actually, the context in which Paul was writing, plus, the Greek structure of the sentence, makes it clear that it is a specific, “Word,” He speaks to your heart. When you “hear” that Word, the faith to believe it, comes. It certainly doesn’t demonstrate anything special about me that is more “spiritual” than my fiancé (now-wife). Her strengths and wisdom far exceed anything I have experienced. She has a tremendous gift of discernment—one that is often disconcerting for me . . .
But I refused to move from what I KNEW was going to happen. I called Warren a few times and his response was the same. In fairness to Warren, he felt he needed a certain amount for rent, he argued that it was a great apartment and he didn’t feel a need to reduce the rent.
I won’t argue that the rent was unreasonable. We were not trying to “rip him off,” we honestly evaluated what we could afford and went from there. Also, when we first saw the apartment we did not decide that was the one we wanted—then try to convince the Lord to make it happen. No! When we walked in I “heard” the Lord tell me He would get it for us, and I was convinced He would.
Each time I called Warren, he would say the apartment was already rented, or that someone was on their way over to put down a deposit. He had removed the listing in the newspaper so it appeared that it was indeed rented. This went on for a month and finally, two weeks before our wedding, I made one more call to Warren. He was shocked—yet excited to hear from me because he had lost my phone number. It seems that every time he had the apartment rented—the new tenants backed out or didn’t pass his credit checks—or simply did not show up with the deposit.
He agreed to lower the rent if I would be willing to mow the lawn and shovel the sidewalk during the winter. I called my fiancé and told her the news. We took over our deposit and she moved in a few days before our wedding . . . Glory to God!
During all this I followed Abraham’s example and refused to allow any distrust of a definite pronouncement of God to make me waiver. I drew strength from my faith, and, while giving glory to God, I remained absolutely convinced that God is able to implement his own promise.
If interested, you can download the entire study of The Letter to Christians at Rome