Pleasant Places

I woke up to a message from my builder friend that said, “Today is the day.” My wife and I had been praying for months about purchasing a lot and building a home. It would stretch our budget and we had heard about the stress involved in building a home.

To complicate the decision, I was in the midst of the intense tenure application process at a major university. If I failed in the process I would be let go.

Our timeline for making a decision was over. Either we exercised our option on the property that day or it would be given to another. My mind raced. What if I didn’t earn tenure? Do we have the money? Is the timing right?

But there was something deep in our spirits that said this decision was about more than a house. And so we had been praying.

I opened my Bible to pick up in Psalms where I had left off the day before. It was early morning and this was my undivided time with God. This day would be no different. And so I turned to Psalm 16 and began reading.

“Lord, you have assigned me my portion and my cup;
You have made my lot secure.
The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
Surely I have a delightful inheritance.
I will praise the Lord who counsels me…
Because He is at my right hand I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16: 5-8.

The awe of God consumed me as I read and re-read this passage over and over. His timing was impeccable – his message clear. That day we stepped out in faith and purchased the lot not knowing it was but the penultimate step of faith on the journey involving this lot.

Over the next few years our first daughter was born while we lived there. I was awarded tenure as well and we used our deck for many special gatherings of my students. It was indeed a “pleasant place.”

And then it happened—the final step of faith involving the lot. After a few years, out of the blue, God called us to give up tenure and move to Texas (which you can read about here). The money from the sale of our wonderful house exceeded our expectations and became the foundation for launching our ministry and consulting practice in Texas. My wife and I will never forget that time in our lives. We loved that house and the story behind it but along the way God taught us to hold on loosely to all of our possessions so that the journey of Awe could continue. And it has… we continue to find ourselves in God’s “pleasant places.”