Should We Fight for the Things of God? [+podcast]
OUR BIG MOVE #5
We had just moved our family from Canada to Florida, but after so much change in a short period of time with packing, moving and house hunting with four busy boys in tow, it was starting to take a toll. It was tough - we were staying in a condo and I was trying to home school (I say that very loosely), we had no community, no routine, little certainty around our whole move and we we still trying to find a house in a crazy housing market.
However, by April, the pieces were starting to come together - we had finally found a home we loved and our offer was accepted! (Be sure to read my last post about that miracle in and of itself!) We could start to see the finish-line but didn’t want to hold on to this house too tightly because it wasn’t long before the deal started to fall apart.
Because we were unable to find a solution to the cracks in the deal, were told our house might be re-listed. The housing market was just as crazy as ever and I was not excited to get back in the game. I was motion sick from all of the up and downs over the last months of this journey. I was done. Was this a sign that we shouldn’t have this house? Should we walk away and give up the deposit or is this where God wants us?
A question came to mind - is there a time we have to fight for the things of God? I hadn’t really ever thought of fighting for something like this before - it kind of felt un-christian. Aren’t we supposed to turn the other cheek? Not cause a scene? Be the kind person who doesn’t stir things up? So Sam and I began to pray about whether or not we should step it up and fight for this house. A different kind of fight, of course. Not with unkind words or threats. But with prayer and grit - not giving up because it’s getting hard.
We both felt in our spirit - fight.
On the same day, two people from different sides of our family spoke the same thing to both Sam and me: could be a battle over territory and we needed to take authority over it in the name of Jesus?
If that sounds weird to you, trust me, it did to me too! I had never really thought about a house in this way (and we have bought and sold 4 other houses). Yet, this one felt different. We had been praying SO intentionally about where we would live, for our neighbors, and our street. We had been praying for God to go before us and to place us somewhere with purpose, mission and community. With our marriage and life dedicated to ministry, we knew God would have a specific place for us.
And when we walked through this new house, we quickly noticed there were items in the home that had a dark spiritual presence. There was a strong feeling that whatever had been residing in this home knew its time was up and wasn’t going to go without a fight.
Because two people suggested this in the same day, we took it seriously - it was time to pray with a bit more authority. Now, this wasn’t something I had ever really learned in church. We don’t hear a lot about spiritual warfare, and yet the Bible is FULL of stories of deliverance and God’s power! This is definitely not something to fear, but to understand what authority we have in the name of Jesus.
Ephesians 6:12 says, For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.
We know there is an enemy to God who is constantly looking to destroy the purposes, plans and people of God. We are all in the battle with this enemy whether we realize it or not. I knew it was time to kick that spirit out, so one day driving alone in my van, I started to rebuke whatever was causing us so much trouble. I was mad - and in the authority I have been given as believer in Jesus, I sent the enemy on his way. It had been such an exhausting journey and this last speed bump was the last straw. I cried. I raised my voice. I told it to get out and leave us alone. That it was OUR home and there would be no interference to where God had led us.
If you are still skeptical, think about this: In what war has a country ever willingly given up ground? Never! There is always a fight. So, I’ll ask this: where in our lives does the enemy have ground that does not belong to him? Whelp, it’s time for us to take it back! We are given all authority under heaven to speak the name of Jesus and the enemy will flee. (Luke 10:19) His time’s up, my friends. We need to get in the fight and let him know that ground will not be given up easily. The battle has been WON, Jesus established that when he died on the cross, but Satan is going to try and take as much as he can with him in his defeat. We have become very comfortable with a God who is loving and caring and less comfortable with a God who calls us into battle. Yet, that is exactly what He does! We’ve been given authority over our homes, our children, our spouses and especially our minds. I would argue that satan gains most ground in our minds when we let him run rampant and don’t take our thoughts captive. We are just letting the enemy take ground! Speak the name of Jesus and let Him reclaim what has been lost. It’s time to step up and take authority over what Jesus has given us.
SO, that’s what I did! For a few weeks our deal held on by a thread. Sam had spent hours on the phone with lawyers and realtors doing all he could. It was an exhausting fight. We knew God would have the final word - and whether we got the property or not, it would be His will and He was still good. We just had to make it 2 more weeks until closing.
Then it was 10 days until closing!
2 days…Whelp. The bank, who had 45 days to ask us for additional documents requested them just two days before closing - which proved to be an impossible task for us. We quickly realized we would not close on our house. Shock. Disbelief. Was all of this for nothing?
Remembering that our battle is not against flesh (not against the bankers!) but against the dark forces, we did what we have been doing all along. We prayed. And by grace we were granted an extension for the sale. This week just about did me in. I had been pretty optimistic over the 9 weeks leading up to this, but week 10 was almost too much. Doubt over the whole decision to move was constantly in the forefront of our minds. Maybe we should have bought a smaller house. Maybe we should have bought some where else. Maybe we should go to Texas. Maybe we should go home to Canada.
You know the verse in James that is often referred to about asking for wisdom, If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously…
And He does! But the second part of the verse is often over looked: But when you ask, you must believe and not doubt, because the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. We had asked for wisdom but we had also allowed doubt to fester in our minds and because of that we were getting battered by the merciless wind. Just another way satan was trying to re-gain ground.
I was encouraged by a friend one day out of the blue - she shared a scripture that would challenge and directly impact our next steps. She shared a simple scripture with me, John 10:27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. Such a simple yet powerful verse. It reminded me that I DO hear God’s voice. We hadn’t heard him wrong. We hadn’t made a wrong turn. God was still at work. And isn’t He so good? You would think I would have learned that lesson by now but He kept giving me gentle reminders. Just because it was hard did not mean it was wrong. The fight would be worth it, but we had to keep going, not let ourselves fall to doubt.
Within a few days the documents that seemed impossible to get were within reach and after a bumpy week, lots of prayers and yet another closing extension due to one last hiccup, the day had finally arrived!! I think our realtor was just as shocked as we were that we had actually made it to the closing date.
We decided to hold our cheers until the key actually turned in the lock when we got possession. We signed all the papers and drove into our new neighborhood still in disbelief that we could call it “ours”. We pulled up the driveway we had prayed so hard for and walked up to our front door to try our key in the lock.
It was official. We had finally crossed the threshold into our new life in Florida.
We stepped inside and despite all the reno work still to be done, we let out a massive sigh of relief like we had been holding our breath for two months. We stood with the boys and holding hands in a circle, gave thanks to God for getting us to that moment. We would not take this new territory for granted and committed our next season of life to Him.
While we had been fighting for the house, the clock was ticking on our time in the US. Without a work visa, we were only allowed to be in the US for so long before we had to go back to Canada. Time was running out. We had two months left before our visitor visa was up and our appointment for our work visa wasn’t for another 8 months. This math wasn’t in our favor. If we did not get an earlier interview date, we would have to leave the country (and our new home) for at least 6 months.
We really had to remember God’s faithfulness with the house, trusting He would show up again if this was where He had us - and we believed it was. New prayers and new question marks - would we get the visas on time? Would our visas even be approved? It was possible they would be denied and we would be left with a house in another country we couldn’t get to. The best we could do was take it one day at a time and keep praying as the clock counted down to our next fast approaching deadline.
…to be continued.
Make sure to catch the first parts of our story:
PART 3: When Hard Does Not Equal Wrong