Initially optimistic we had contracts coming in every other month. We felt like the house would sell, but what we did not anticipate was that in a heavily foreclosed market with a surplus of cheap, nice homes each potential buyer chose to walk away. On contract five, the house mysteriously flooded from the second floor bathroom all the way down to the basement. Buyer five saw it as an opportunity to choose personal finishes and waited out a portion of the seven extended months of renovation. Then after choosing bathroom tiles and paint colors, number five also walked. By the time we sold the completely renovated house to contract number six, we paid fifty percent of the purchase price of the home to actually unload it. I scolded God and told him he should have been less wasteful. That three year experience led to anger and distrust of God. Where was He when I prayed earnestly to him? Why did He not answer? Why did the one who controlled the casting of lots not allow the first or second contract to roll in our favor?
My emotions were in such disorder at the time that I couldn't watch any of the shows I previously enjoyed like House Hunters or Designed to Sell without my stomach lurching and feeling nauseous with fear. It truly was paralyzing. Only years later can I really talk about the whole incident with some emotional distance. Why do I share this now?
Reason 1: Those three years were essential to break down my expectations that God is not "wasteful." If you are a human, let me tell you, God is ridiculously wasteful. He loves wastefully. He gives himself wastefully. Jesus died in his prime for an unresponsive and ungrateful me.
Reason 2: In a roundabout way, a house not selling in Michigan led us to adopt a boy in Bengbu, China. If we hadn't lost so much money trying to be good stewards, we would have never willingly taken on the excessive financial expense of adoption. We were freed to a new standard of wastefulness. Yes, you can sponsor hundreds of children for the cost of adopting one. However, the very God who allowed his body to be anointed with a year's wages that could have been dispersed to the poor is strangely wasteful.
Reason 3: Without that huge scar of anger, betrayal and disappointment, we wouldn't have stepped into a different church situation. We were searching for substance and answers. In only ways God can do, he took all the pain of those wasteful years and ignited them with a deep-seated trust of Him. It is no surprise to me that the church God used mightily in our lives was also overcome with the wasteful love of our Saviour. That precious church sent out year-end thank you letters, individually addressed, to a ten-year-old and a seven-year-old with twenty-three cents and fifteen cents less in their respective piggy banks. When the postage of the envelopes cost more than the gifts that is God-like waste.
Reason 4: God's a Spender, but he never goes into debt. He has the resources to out-spend you. You can trust that through unexplained and senseless waste in your life, He loves you more deeply than your despondency and fears. His plans for you are abundant and full of life.
I could have referred to Jesus' gift as costly, but somehow costly seems too calculated, too humanly sensible. Waste gets our knees knocking, because our resources are limited and finite, but wastefulness means nothing to God who owns the universe and the galaxies beyond. I was healed from viewing God as a tightwad by experiencing the most wasteful gift of all, Christ's lavish love for me.
John 13:34, 35