What do you do when God sets you up for something great, only to pull the rug from underneath you? This past week has felt like that for me. Being the recovering perfectionist that I am, I had wanted to wait until this story had a happy ending before I wrote about it. But as I contemplated what was going on, I felt convicted to be more honest and real; to tell it as it is.
Setting the stage: A month ago, we put our apartment on the market. We also started searching for a new home – something bigger for our family to grow into. A place to share with my sister-in-law and her husband. Not too long into the search, we found the house. After some back and forth, we settled on an offer to buy the house. About a week later, we got an offer on our apartment. We confirmed the purchase of the house and everything looked good for the apartment sale to be finalized a couple days later. But when the buyers sat down to sign the deal, they decided against it.
The deal fell through. After the initial shock and disbelief, I felt angry and disappointed. And then there was this inexplicable peace. Like I knew deep down that God was still holding us and that it would turn out alright in the end. To my surprise, I felt ok with it.
The next morning though, was different. Grief barged in and trampled over the peace I’d experienced the night before. I felt like a dream had died. If you permit me to be slightly dramatic about it, I felt like it was Easter Saturday. Jesus had died the day before; and along with him were our hopes for a better future. The salvation we had been anticipating was not going to happen. The joy and excitement of Palm Sunday were all for nothing. I felt like God was being mean.
How could He lead us on like that? I questioned. How could He make things seem to go one way only to change courses so abruptly? How could He let us down and leave us hanging?
“Maybe God has an even better deal waiting for you,” said the voice of attempted comfort. Of course that was a possibility. And considering God’s track record, there was a high likelihood for that. But the day after Jesus died, did His disciples know that resurrection was coming just a day later? No. They could only live in the reality of the moment. And similarly, I believed that that day, the truest, most appropriate thing I could do was embrace my grief.
It’s been over a week now. What next? We continue to live in limbo. We continue to live in Easter Saturday. The old dream is apparently dead and God seems awfully quiet. But if I can take any solace in the Easter narrative, it’s this: when it seems like God has abandoned us, He is actually doing the most profound work. And hope, which is ever so fragile, flickers on knowing that the story is not finished yet.
[Update: The story did have a happy ending. Read it here.]