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Jen Pollock Michel

( author + writer + speaker )

For Rent: And when God says no

Yesterday, we had the disappointing news from our realtor. The owner of the property we had liked was refusing to negotiate the terms of our lease offer. Apparently, five children was – for him - too much risk exposure. The irony is not lost on us of course: Ryan’s title here with Allstate Canada is Chief Risk Officer.

There’s no changing a man’s mind, though, who stubbornly refuses to call your arguably IMPECCABLE references.

And as disappointing as this may be, we must trust that this answer is from the Lord.

Probably one of the most difficult things for me in our current season is the nagging impermanence of it all. We can never answer the question, “How long are you planning to be here?” We simply don’t know, and there are far too many factors controlling that decision that are beyond our control.

But I want so much to settle in, to call some brick and mortar house a home. And I think of all the possibilities of that home – how I’d decorate and entertain and thrive with an windowed office and a bigger kitchen and a bedroom for guests and a bathroom I didn’t have to share with my children. All that imagining of my better life later tempts me toward a sagging resignation that my life is somehow less full now, that I’m on hold, that l lack.

The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want.

If you’ve been reading here for any length of time, you might remember that the book I’m writing is about the subject of desire. Are we allowed to want if it’s God will that we are meant to find and follow? If we’re supposed to lose our lives in order to gain them, what good is it to allow ourselves to want, to ask, to lay bare before God the desires of our hearts? Is that an exercise in selfishness? Is desire the antithesis of the cross?

Of course I don’t think so.

There is much good inherent to our desires – the greatest good perhaps being the intimacy we gain with our Father, who invites us as His children to know Him and be known. He loves to be asked by those who implicitly trust Him.

When the Psalmist says, I shall not want, I don’t believe he means that we should numb all of heart’s desires. I think that instead, he means to say:

Trust that as you follow God, there is NEVER any good that you will lack.

The rub is of course that my definition of good and God’s aren’t always congruent, but the invitation of desire is to accept that when God says no, He’s got something better planned.

I’ll soon be over this silly old house, although maybe for today I might still wish that God had said yes, had cleared the obstacles, and that He’d given us what we’d asked.

But this is faith: that I orient myself to what is true about God and His ways with me. I write today, as always, as a sermon to self: Jen, He’s got it covered. If He keeps accurate count of the strands of my hair, then surely our next address is secured in His sovereign and loving care.

Today is good. Tomorrow, too.