My email devotional Friday morning started with this: "2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters,[a] whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. 4 Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." James 1:2-4 NIV (emphasis mine)
I was struck by the gentle admonition to let perseverance finish its work. As if perseverance were a force of its own, part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit during times of testing. It feels like an invitation to patience in hard times. I let it sink in. The challenge of difficult times is persevering when we can't possibly know how long it will last. In this case, it wasn't long.
That morning we waited for hours for the seller of a house we wanted to call our realtor back. By 1:00 we changed our mind -- we had no idea why a seller wouldn't respond to a potential buyer, but we sniffed a problem so we moved on. We decided to put an offer on another house that we'd seen before and signed the proposed contract at 5:00. It looks small and dark on the outside, but on the inside it's big and beautiful and has been completely remodeled. Kind of like the Tardis (Dr. Who joke, sorry).
By 6:30 that same evening, they had accepted our offer without a counter. I cried a tiny bit with the news.
There were two reasons we passed on it the first time: one, we thought the price would be too high and two, the neighbor's house looked kind of run down and trashy and we thought jeez, what kind of stuff will we have to put up with? Fortunately, the seller had talked to them in person by chance and came away with the impression that they're poor but pleasant. It occurred to me early this morning that God may want us to be their neighbors for a reason. Just like He may have plans for us to use a five-bedroom house that we don't know about yet. That's okay. We'll just show up and obey.