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You Never Know Who’s Watching

Apr. 6, 2013


"Why?" I've asked the Lord hundreds of times. "Why is it taking so long to sell this house?" When we put our house on the market, the realtor thought it would be gone in weeks—maybe a couple of months. Now, 13 months and some 120 showings later, we're still living between our showing-ready house (sterile, squeaky clean, and devoid of all personal items—including pictures of grandchildren!) and Barnes and Noble, where we hang out during showings.

We're now on our fourth and fifth written offers. Due to an incredible mix of personal buyer circumstances and family issues, we have been through a breached contract, withdrawn offers, and untold delays and dramas. Our realtor keeps telling us that we will be the star characters in the novel she will one day write when she retires. Thanks, but no thanks.

"How long O Lord, how long?" I'm sure many of you have been here—and often over problems far bigger than an unsold house. Knowing full well that God seldom answers such questions this side of heaven, we still ask: Why?

This week I got . . . well, not an answer, but a different perspective. At the end of yet one more conversation when there were more questions than answers—and more waiting, still more waiting—our realtor (with whom we have had few, if any, spiritual conversations) paused and said to Woody and me: "Before you hang up, there's one more thing I want to tell you both. Recently I've told a number of people that if they want to see what faith looks like, they ought to meet you two. I work with so many people with no faith, and going through what you've been through makes them bitter and angry. But you continue to be gracious and show grace. I mean it—whenever I think of faith and grace, I will always think of you."

We were silent, humbled, and—at least in my case—chastened, as I thought of my fierce struggles with anxiety and lack of trust. We thanked her and assured her that it was not us—it was all Jesus. And then I was reminded of the Andrew Murray quote I've been living on for weeks. (See quote in my recent blog post.) I have it in my journal, in my purse, and in my head—word for word! I had even sent it to this realtor one time. So now I added in response to her: "Remember that quote I once sent you? Well, any grace you see is purely an answer to that prayer that 'God will give me grace in this trial to behave as His child.'"

Of course, immediately after that conversation came yet another test of "His grace bestowed." More unexpected twists and turns in the most recent negotiations. But I can't get the conversation out of my mind. Maybe, Linda, it's not all about you. Maybe God is using what you're walking through as part of His work in someone else's life. You never know who's watching.

I'm reminded of an unforgettable line in one of my new favorite books, The Secret Thoughts of an Unlikely Convert, by Rosaria Champagne Butterfield. At a time when Butterfield was experiencing great personal suffering, a neighbor who was wrestling against faith and dying of cancer said to her: "I didn't give a d--- about who God was to you in your happiness. But now that you are suffering, I want to know: Who is your God? Where is He in your suffering?" (p. 58)

And isn't that especially true in Mom to Mom? For you who are Titus 2 leaders, "your moms" are watching to see how you walk through tough times. In fact, for all of us moms—at any age—other moms are watching. Not for perfection, I believe. Certainly not for glib easy answers. But for faith lived out even amidst the unanswered "Why's" and unchosen paths. For grace—His grace.

It's a Mom to Mom theme: "…we were delighted to share with you not only the gospel of God but our lives as well…." (1 Thessalonians 2:8)

May God work in—and through—each of us "the grace he intends to bestow."
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