Mandi and I have moved 13 times and lived in 3 states in our 26 years together. January 2012, we purchased our first home. This was a wonderful answer to prayer, to have a place of our own, a place where we could earnestly start to put down family roots.
While Mandi and I have long had a dream to own a home, we did not think it would ever be possible between being a pastor and living in New England. But out of the blue God blessed us with the means to make this happen. We know, that if God were not the author and orchestrator of the events that led up to this, it never would have happened. We see this house, this home, as a gift from God to us. Joshua 24:1-15 was the focus of a sermon we heard shortly after we closed on it. What really struck us were these verses,
Then you crossed the Jordan and came to Jericho. The citizens of Jericho fought against you, as did also the Amorites, Perizzites, Canaanites, Hittites, Girgashites, Hivites and Jebusites, but I gave them into your hands. I sent the hornet ahead of you, which drove them out before you–also the two Amorite kings. You did not do it with your own sword and bow. So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant.Now fear the LORD and serve him with all faithfulness. Throw away the gods your forefathers worshiped beyond the River and in Egypt, and serve the LORD. But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Our house was built more than two centuries ago in 1780. It is listed as a historical house in the Massachusetts registry. It has been lovingly maintained and updated for 237 years. It even came with a significant amount of furnishings that were purchased specifically for the house. When we read, “So I gave you a land on which you did not toil and cities you did not build; and you live in them and eat from vineyards and olive groves that you did not plant,” we felt very much how the Israelites must have felt when Joshua was giving his farewell speech. It was as if God was saying to us, “Remember Dan and Mandi, you did not build this house, you did not buy it on your own, it is a gift from Me. Remember that, and serve Me faithfully.” To quote the Apostle Paul, “the very thing I was eager to do.”