He gives us stories /// after the fire

...but God meant it for good.
— Genesis 50:20
 

I’m the kind of person that must know what ‘the plan’ is, and feel anxiously unsettled when things don’t go as expected. However, over the past two-and-a-half years, I have learnt that when God wants you somewhere, He makes sure you get there—even when it doesn’t exactly fit in with your own plan. I don’t want to over-dramatise or go into too many details of specific plans that have been ripped from beneath my feet—or so they’ve felt—but there’s one example that feels relevant to share. Early in November of 2017, God took what was a truly unsettling and scary time, and transformed it into a story of hope, purpose and calling…

 

Finding my flat ablaze

Following a particularly difficult day at work, I came home to find my block of flats ablaze. I’ll save the details as you can imagine the scene and imagine the emotions of fear, horror, disbelief and confusion experienced. Yet, this is just the beginning of the story.

As the months dragged on, with no sign of progress with my flat, and as relationships with my temporary neighbours turned intimidating and threatening, I was left with the reality that, upon returning from my parents’ home after Christmas, I would essentially be homeless.

Into this mess, God spoke to me through trusted friends, supernatural “coincidences” and practical wisdom.

 

A God who provides, draws near, and guides

I had thought that perhaps one day I would return to live in the east end in the area where I work with Junction 12 but I had devised a criteria in my head for what had to be in place in order for that to happen. My criteria were simple: I wouldn’t live alone; and it would need to be fit for hosting people for meals, respite or emergency accommodation.

Lo-and-behold, a good friend of mine had found a house in the East End but needed someone to move in with her—but the house was unfurnished. I quickly wrote off this offer as it didn’t meet my criteria.

The next day, someone contacted me to say she was getting rid of a dining table and chairs, and asked if I knew anyone in need. I told my friend about them and she accepted, but I didn’t give it any further thought at the time.

A few days later, as I helped move the dining chairs in, it struck me. This house now 100% met my criteria:

  • the house was in the exact scheme I would have chosen to move into

  • it had a large dining area now fitted with a table and chairs

  • there was a spare room

  • there was a housemate in need of a co-tenant—who shared the same vision for the home as myself

I walked around the empty house and prayed secretly wishing that God would tell me, ‘this wasn’t for me,’ but, rather unsurprisingly, the opposite happened.

I’m not saying God deliberately caused the fire, or that He wished any of the harm or consequential anxiety upon me, but He is a God who superintends all things, working all things together for His ultimate good purpose—and He is a God who provides, draws near and guides me to the plan He has set aside for me.


a gentle whisper

I am now part of a church planting team in the scheme I now live in and feel more ‘at home’ than I have ever felt in a building. Over the past year, at various conferences, God has used strangers to affirm these things and to prophesy over my new home and its purpose.

I was recently going through the story of Elijah with young people I work with and I felt as though God drew close and laughed with me as I read:

...but the Lord was not in the fire.
And after the fire came a gentle whisper.
— 1 Kings 19:12

HE GIVES US STORIES ///

Throughout Advent, Refuge is posting a selection of stories of God’s work in our lives. Each morning of Advent, we will be sharing these stories for the encouragement and upbuilding of the Church—and to testify to His greatness. For the series introduction click here.

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