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TITLE: We Needed an Answer
By Mary MacKinnon
01/04/06
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Be ruthless--the readers will so it's best I should know before publishing. Can you relate to this piece?
We Needed an Answer
By Mary D. MacKinnon


A move to California—that had sounded so exciting, so glamorous--but now it was turning into a nightmare. We needed to get out of the motel that was ruining our budget, and into a house. But to get a house we liked and could afford was frustrating. Not that we wanted anything exotic--like the one we had looked at with a secret door, or the one with an ugly, sunken bathtub in the backyard, or another that had a waist-high floor for an electric train room. We were just scouting for something that we could handle financially, that would fit our needs and get us out of the motel. The rent was wreaking havoc with our budget.

Every day for several weeks the girls and I had searched for a house. First we studied the want ads, then with map in hand, we fought through heavy L.A. traffic on unfamiliar streets, combing the houses in larger and larger circles around the airport where my husband worked. All to no avail. We lost count of how many we had looked at, but every single one had some features we didn’t like—or lacked some things we wanted or needed. We had expected to buy an older house, thinking it would be cheaper, but we were finding the older ones were asking down payments way beyond what we could pay.

“I’m exhausted, frustrated, and totally confused,” I complained one morning just before Gordy left for work.

“I can see why,” he said, putting his arm around me.

“I don’t know where to look next—or if a house like we want even exists. I could surely use some of Solomon’s wisdom these days.”

Gordy reminded me that the book of James in the Living Bible says, “If you want to know what God wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him…”

So we asked. Being inveterate list-makers, we described on paper the house we would like. Nothing we had looked at till now had even half of the things we wanted. One by one, each of us added our input: an affordable down payment, a double sink in the kitchen, separate laundry room, eating space in the kitchen, detached garage, two bathrooms (essential with two teenagers!), and on and on. When we finished the list had 25 items.

“If we find a house like that, we’ll know for sure that’s the one,” I commented. “Nothing has come close to that yet.”

Later when Gordy got home from work he said, “The guys at work said there’s a new tract a little further south than you’ve been looking. Why don’t we take a look at that?” It sounded like a dubious idea. Being new, we suspected the houses there would require an even larger down payment than the ones we had looked at till now.

The next day was a Saturday so we all went together to see the tract of new houses. At the sales office a salesman offered to show us one of the four models. The outside appealed to us immediately, a good-looking pale green stucco house with a curved bay window in front.

Even before we stepped into the house, Gordy smiled as he discovered the separate double garage. One thing right. The kitchen had a double sink. Two bathrooms. A separate laundry area. We pulled out the list and started checking off each item that matched. By the minute we got more excited as we toured the house. Item after item was checked off. We all liked the inside of the house as much as we had liked the outside. The curved bay window was a bonus we hadn’t counted on, and another was the school just around the corner. Before long, 24 items were checked off. Could this be the one?

Then Gordy looked out the window at the house next door—and groaned. “Oh, no! They have that crushed rock called dolomite on the roof. It leaks too easily. I wanted asphalt shingles.”

There was a collective groan from the girls and me. We were heartsick, disappointed—we had been so sure this one was the one for us--but knew the right kind of roof was a vital item for Gordy. He stepped out to the front porch and then back into the house. We dreaded his verdict.

“Why such long faces? he asked, as he broke into a broad grin. “You can relax now. Check off the last item. This house has an asphalt shingle roof just like I wanted. This is our house.”

The girls started prancing, dancing around, then ran through the house to choose their own room. I was bubbling over with relief and joy to have our hunt ended. With all 25 items checked off, we felt confident that God had led us to the house He wanted us to have. To cement our confidence, all the other details fell into place—a down payment we could handle. A G.I. loan that the builders approved. Best of all, we could get out of the motel right away. This was the only house available for immediate occupancy. It had been sold but the prospective buyer’s credit wasn’t approved so it was back on the market that very day. What an answer to prayer!

Then why, one might ask, did the front lawn sprout a “For Sale” sign after ten happy years in the house? Because now we saw God’s purpose in giving us such a good investment. Its value had increased a lot, and with our equity from it, we purchased passage on a Japanese ship for us, our two teen-aged girls, and our new baby boy to Santos, Brazil. We were going there as missionaries, another answer to prayer, fourteen years after praying it. The house had been only a stepping stone to God’s next step for our lives. His wisdom had covered even more than the house we had asked for, because He knew the whole plan for us. With His economy He knew He would be answering two prayers at once. He knew what was ahead, and had led us step by step, even before we saw the whole picture.
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