I remember hearing a story told by a grandson of Dutch grandparents about the liberation of Holland. His grandparents told him how they survived awful conditions and treatment under the Nazi occupation, subsisting on tulip bulbs for months sometimes.
They told him how the one thing that kept them alive was the hope that they would one day be free again, and they hung on to life so hard because of that hope.
The challenging part of the story came when they described how on the day that they were liberated by Canadian troops, exhausted, sick and emaciated Dutchmen and women streamed out of their homes as the troops filed by, realizing they were free. Some erupted for joy and danced and wept and embraced the liberating forces and celebrated that freedom, their great hope, had come unexpected to their door, and they were ready to live again.
What broke my heart was the description of many Dutchmen and women, who, when freedom found its way to their doors as they had prayed and fought for every day, fell down and died from massive heart failures because they couldn't handle the reality that freedom was finally there. They had existed for so long in captivity and conditioned themselves to just survive that when freedom, their wildest dream, arrived, their hearts couldn't deal with it and they keeled over dead.
That's a pretty weighty story, but I was reminded of it this summer when I wondered if I was ever going to get a job with the school board, or if I was ever going to be able to afford to buy a home for my wife and family. It was pretty desperate, but I really felt God challenge me to keep my dream alive, no matter what it took.
Mere weeks later I had a full time job with the school board, finally earning a salary on par with my teaching peers instead of living on sub poverty wages as a substitute teacher.
We started to talk about buying a home about a month later. Last week we went to see our first batch of houses. We wrote an offer on one last Saturday, not really expecting anything to come together.
I learned my lesson. Sometimes God answers your prayer after years, but you have to be so careful not to let yourself box God into a space where you only believe he can do something if it takes years to accomplish it.
The offer we put in was accepted by noon the next day, and pending an inspection and estimate from an electrician tomorrow afternoon, we will be homeowners on December 11, 2006, in time for us to fully renovate all the things we want to complete and move in before baby #2 comes in January.
It's been almost 6 years since we moved home from Montreal to Halifax, and sometimes it seemed like none of this would ever happen. But this last two months is a reminder to me that just because it looks like nothing is happening doesn't mean God isn't at work and contending for you, and that the things you hold on to God for are never far from his heart.
So, if you're holding on for something, don't give up and don't let go of your dream. You never know when it will drop out of the air and bushwack you like a herd of ninjas....