“Now this is the confidence that we have in Him, that if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us. 15 And if we know that He hears us, whatever we ask, we know that we have the petitions that we have asked of Him.” 1 John 5:14-15
People especially in New York City are usually astonished when I describe the apartment I found in the city where I am on stop number #3 on my life out on the road full-time for the Lord and ministry. Located on one of the most famous streets in the city, 1.5 blocks from an amazing park almost constantly filled with a wide variety of sights and sounds, on the ground floor so it’s easy for my special needs dogs, with plenty of windows and good light in a good part of it, beautiful wood floors, the perfect setup for me and the dogs and my writing, and what for the city is a huge patio area, with a great management company that addresses any issues quickly, relatively quiet at night because it’s in the back of the building, a wonderful size, just right for us, I couldn’t have asked for more. People are shocked because it’s apparently virtually if not totally impossible to find such a place in the city with all these qualities. Why would I be compelled to write a devotional on how I found it? Because of the message contained herein.
I 100% submitted the apartment search to God. I knew He had called me to New York City for my streets ministry work and writing, so I knew He would provide for me. The devil tried exceedingly hard to stop the move, but I knew the victory was in Christ. People prayed and prayed and prayed for me and the search. One friend in particular walked so closely beside me she knew exactly how to pray and what Bible verses to send me. I worked incessantly hard day and night online and by phone to contact realtors, but still I knew only God could do what needed to be done.
Then I hit the streets one day. It was my Mom’s idea. I took it. I walked and prayed and sought the Lord. He gave me a perimeter in my heart showing me the area He wanted me to live within. And He had already spoken to my heart about doing lots of ministry in that one park. I knew the wheelchair dogs could only walk so far. I wanted to quit, the search was so grueling. But I persevered in God’s strength. I was worn by Satan’s constant attack. But I pressed on. I would not quit.
I didn’t have a “dream” apartment. I didn’t ask for anything for myself other than I wanted it warm in winter because I’m so sensitive to cold. I didn’t ask God to meet my desires. I wanted Him to provide for me in such a way I could serve Him in the city exactly as He desired. The apartment unlike things I had so wanted in the past was NOT about me. I made the apartment about HIM. It would be a place I would stay for as long or short as He wanted while I served Him in New York City. I laid aside any desires I might have had to please my flesh. I wanted to please God.
The day an agent showed me the place, I hated it. I walked out within about 5 minutes. I judged it. I looked through the eyes of my flesh. I could only see limitations, drawbacks, shortcomings. I couldn’t see what God wanted to show me. A week or so later, just before I was about to take another apartment to rent, I impulsively called the agent and asked to see it one more time. This time, I walked through the front door into a freshly painted place and looked through the spiritual eyes God gave me. I saw what He wanted me to see. And what I saw wasn’t a dream apartment like I might have wanted and had in years past to try to make myself happy and content and comfortable. I saw God’s provision, God’s hand, God’s loving grace, His mercy and care, His kindness, His place for me to stay for this season in my life to love and worship and serve Him and to help people find and forever follow Jesus.
How did I find the amazing apartment with which He provided me? By yielding myself to Him, by wanting what He wanted for me, by wanting an apartment not for self but to serve, by praying and listening and seeking and hearing and obeying God almighty – and being so thankful, so very thankful, that the Lord in His tender mercy chose to give me a location to lay my head down to sleep at night, to wake in the mornings with the desire to love my Father in heaven, for all the days He will keep me in this city – until He sends me on, place by place, season by season, living my life for Jesus.
If you’re praying and praying to God for something, would you be willing to lay aside your dream and vision, and yield yourself utterly to Jesus, and let the Lord answer your cries the way He desires, let Him provide as He sees fit, for He knows what’s best, and instead of seeking from Him to serve yourself, seeking from Him in order to best love and serve Him? Please do. For His glory. For Christ’s sake. Amen!