I’m sure most people have thought about this from time to time, but a week ago while pondering a current circumstance and not thinking about faith I heard this question, “In what do you have faith?” A list started to form in my head. My job, My parents, My pastor, A politician, An elected office, My car? I realized the list could go on forever. While aware of the possibility a job can end suddenly I live confident it will be there. I love my parents and know they would never intentionally not be there for me. I think most Christians believe their pastor’s guidance will be sound and divinely inspired. There are times when I have really believed in a particular politician’s devotion to the people and God’s character. I never doubted that the office of the President of the USA was bigger than its inhabitants and would not fail the country. Every day I get into my car and head off at potentially fatal speeds without fear.
We go through every day life not thinking about all these acts of faith until one of them ultimately fails. When that happens, it is often a devastating blow to our psyche. We wonder why we ever believed in the object of our faith. We may question life. Some even question why God would allow the object of our faith to fail us.
As I said, I was considering a current issue when this thought occurred. A while ago we took a dramatic step with our lives in a direction we believe God wanted us to go. This move would take us away from the area we had spent our whole lives and require us to sell our home. Little did we know what a test of our faith this would be. Literally weeks after we committed to the move and our course was set the housing market collapsed. Nine years later… I was driving away from the house after a showing and I was reflecting on all the time and treasure we had put into the upkeep and sale of our home without success. This year we spent the money to build a garage hoping to get rid of the one, and really the only, consistent complaint from potential buyers. Now, five months later… I’m not doubting God, but wondering if I am doing something wrong or did he have something else planned? Truly, while many around us have suggested maybe we weren’t supposed to leave in the first place much less stay away, I have never doubted. As difficult as this road has been, the lives that have been positively affected by it is undeniable, not to mention the impact on our own. I believe it is this truth that created fertile ground for this seed of thought, and the two hour drive to follow the right growing conditions.
Was I placing my faith in the Realtor? Maybe at one time, but nine years, multiple agents, and a blown guaranteed sale later, definitely not. Was it the market then? I did believe that as long as I kept my twenty percent equity in our home my investment would be safe; the collapse took care of that fantasy. Was it me, did I believe I created such a great home no one could resist? I do love our home and live up to mom’s standard “any job worth doing is worth doing right,” but, as the house was built in 1925, I have always been aware it would appeal to only a specific buyer. Well then was it the garage? I did think investing the money in a garage rather than other expenses was the right call. I talked to my family, asked for their discernment, they agreed. We did believe this would make a difference. That said we were aware it would not be completed until after prime season and therefore may not impact sellability until spring. This turned out to be true. The market stalled weeks before its completion.
In reflection, over the years God has not only taught me patience but where to place my faith. I never lost faith that God had led us away from our home, but have placed/misplaced my faith on things other than him along the way. A committed buyer will not let a bad Realtor get in their way. Even in a bad market some people buy and my equity gave me a little room to interest them. Recently I saw a beautifully restored ultra-Victorian home for sale. It was wonderful and the work was professional and detailed. As much as I could appreciate that I would never want to live there. Just because everyone who looks at the house recognizes the quality of my work and the resulting beauty of the home, many will not want one built in 1925. However, those who would will seek it out. The garage did get rid of the only big negative and for the buyer who is otherwise committed it will make the difference.
UPDATE: As you can see this post was written in January 2016, our house sold in August of 2019. Yes, this was a long three years. More importantly, we can look back with the benefit of Hindsight and see clearly God’s Foresight. We can see clearly all the places our Faith could have been Misplaced. And we can see clearly the one place it was not, because, when asked, “In what do you have faith?” Our answer was and remains the same.
At the end of my ride I came to this. It is great to believe in others and ourselves. We can and should trust the things in our lives to fulfill their roles. It’s OK and healthy to be optimistic about the decisions we make. But we must remember it isn’t the tool that gets the job done, it’s the master craftsmen that wields it. At times, both stressful and not, we tend to forget this and put our faith in the tools.
As I said when I started, this was merely an uneventful circumstance. It was not a time of doubt or fear, just spontaneous reflection. I honestly wondered why? I didn’t have to wonder long. Within days, things unrelated to our home or our move, in which I had put personal faith, failed. While I was disappointed I was not weakened because I had already been asked, “In what do you have faith?” I had but one answer: God.
© Scott A Caughel 1/21/2016