…so David inquired of God: “Shall I go and attack the Philistines? Will you deliver them into my hands?” 1 Chronicles 14:10a (NIV)
Wendy and I spend a fair amount of time in conversation about our lives. We give consideration to where we’ve been, where we’re at, and where we’re going. In our prayers we ask for guidance and in our day we attempt to be mindful of seeking answers. We are sometimes surprised by the result.
In 2007, Wendy and I purchased my parents place on Lake of the Ozarks. It has been a special place for our family for many years. Wendy and I wanted to continue that legacy for the next generation. We prayed about building a new house on the property that would be large enough for larger gatherings of friends and family, and began making plans. By the spring of 2009 the plans were laid and we were ready to proceed with construction, but the great recession had hit the economy hard. The banks cinched up their purse strings. Timing and circumstance seemed to provide a resounding answer of “No” to our prayers for God’s blessing and provision for the project. Disappointed, we scuttled our plans and moved on.
Several months later, on a rainy October morning, I was driving to a meeting in Des Moines when my cell phone rang. It was a loan officer from New Century Bank in Belleville, Kansas and he said he’d received a loan proposal from our contractor at the lake. He liked what he saw, he said, and he was presenting it to the bank’s loan committee that afternoon. On the drive home from Des Moines that afternoon, my cell phone rang again. This time it was the bank President. “I’ve got your proposal for a construction loan to build a house on Lake of the Ozarks,” he said. “We’d like to loan you the money to make this happen!”
Not believing what I was hearing, I mentioned the recession, the plummeting housing prices, and all the other excuses we’d heard from banks who’d found the proposal for a second home too risky amidst the worst economy since the Great Depression. “What happens if we get this house built and the housing prices have fallen to the place that it’s not worth what we need it to be worth?” I asked the bank’s president.
“Well then,” he said without skipping a beat, “We’ll just have to live with each other for a while, won’t we?”
When I arrived home, I pulled up the website for this little bank in nowhere Kansas that I’d never heard of. I read:
The name New Century Bank is taken from the beginning of the first century AD from the event that changed the world, the birth of Jesus Christ. The star in our logo represents the Star of Bethlehem that announced the birth of Jesus. Faith gives us Life” What is faith?… It is the confident assurance that what we hope for is going to happen. It is the evidence of things we cannot yet see. (1) Conviction is Faith in the Present and Hope is Faith in the Future. Our Hope is for your life in the future and that of our Community. If we help you build your life our community will benefit. “It is through faith that a righteous person has life. Our purpose is to be an example of this Hope by standing for something greater than we are… by being a servant to you and the community. We can model our banking services with this purpose as well. Our emphasis is not on the banking product, but how it is delivered and how it benefits you. We offer hope for our customers through Faith Based Financial Counseling.
The loan papers were signed a few days later and construction began immediately.
One of the things that marked David as a “man after God’s own heart” was the fact that he was constantly mindful of God in his decisions and actions. In David’s day it was common for kings and rulers to claim themselves to be gods and make their people worship them. David was the antithesis of that. He lived by a different set of rules. While not perfect, David consistently humbled himself and sought God’s guidance and blessing.
Wendy and I have tried to emulate that spirit in our own lives. The story I’ve just shared is an example of how God can dramatically provide the answer we sought after. The truth is that often the answers don’t make themselves so readily apparent. Sometimes we are left waiting for an answer that never seems to come. Other times the answer is not at all what we wanted or wished for, and that creates intense internal struggles.
We still keep seeking. We still keep asking. We still keep trusting.
That’s what faith is all about.