Have you ever given God an ultimatum?
I only did it because I was desperate. My husband, Steve, was not convinced God would be okay with my ultimatum. Until I quoted the scripture that kept running over and over in my head.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
— Isaiah 30:21 (NIV)
When the “voice behind you” seems to speak in riddles, the way to walk isn’t clear.
Last week in my post, When Reversal is Moving Forward, I wrote of our confusion regarding whether to find another buyer for our home or move back into it, but I didn’t mention the ultimatum I gave God.
Not wanting to make the wrong move had paralyzed me. Was my indecision rooted in fear?
God kept assuring me that I could take a leap of faith in any direction and not be afraid.
I even recorded a podcast episode about God’s promise to be the voice behind us saying which way to go. Click the image to listen.
I made the decision to take the first step and trust God to show me the way.
“You keep saying my ears will hear a voice telling me which way to go after I get going,” I boldly told God. “So, if Steve and I unintentionally head in the opposite direction of your will, it doesn’t matter since you have promised to turn us around.”
That’s when I issued my ultimatum.
“Okay, then! I am not listing the house with an agent. I am moving back home. If you’d rather have us sell, I’m giving you till Monday.”
Then I told God the one way I would know for sure that he wanted us to go a different direction.
Whether to sell or not to sell hung on a decision that was entirely out of my hands. That decision belonged to the author of a note my friend Andi found tucked in the front door of my home.
Andi had come over to help me clean up after the estate liquidation sale left our house looking like Walmart after Black Friday.
Steve and I had timed that sale to help clear everything out the weekend before we handed over the keys.
But the day we concluded our estate sale, we canceled our escrow.
We still held the keys to our house—along with a whole lot of confusion about what to do next.
Three days later, Andi found the note and held it wide-eyed when I greeted her at my front door.
The note was scrawled on torn paper by a woman who regularly walked our street and had heard we might be interested in selling. She’d admired our house from afar and was hoping to take a closer look.
Steve and I use the garage entrance and had no idea that note had been delivered to our doorstep the same day we canceled escrow. With Andi close by and praying fervently, I called the woman and knew instantly she’d been sent by God.
“Tell me you love Jesus,” I said without a doubt.
“Yes! My husband and I both love Jesus” The woman began to share a little of her story.
She came with her family of five a few hours later. I told them I would be calling a real estate agent on Monday to list the house, but if they wanted to make an offer by the weekend, we could simply reopen escrow with the same title company and save the cost of agency commissions. I gave them my rock-bottom price; they said they would get back to me.
Meanwhile, I researched how long sellers should expect their home to be on the market and whether we could continue paying for two houses while we waited for a buyer. I decided we would have to sell within 90 days or be forced to move home and take our house off the market.
I updated Andi on my plans and we prayed for God’s will to be done. Then she said something that triggered my ultimatum.
“If those buyers don’t give you an offer by the weekend and if your house doesn’t sell after 90 days on the market, at least you will know you’ve done everything in your power to sell this house.”
She was right. And yet, I didn’t want to do everything in my power.
I wanted to do everything in God’s power.
I told my husband, “If God is going to tell us which way to walk, then why do we have to give him 90 days? Why can’t he tell us by Monday?”
We were already stretched to our limit financially and emotionally. God always seems to show up in the eleventh hour. But who would determine when that hour struck?
I decided to move in the direction I felt comfortable with, and I tossed it out to Steve. “I don’t think we should list the house at all. Either this couple buys it or we don’t sell.”
Steve initially balked, but when I quoted Isaiah 30:21, he agreed.
The couple did not make an offer by Monday, and our ears heard a voice behind us saying, “This is the way; walk right back home.”
Are you paralyzed with indecision?
I’m not suggesting you jump right into giving God an ultimatum. When the way to walk isn’t clear, your leap of faith doesn’t include telling the Sovereign Creator of the Universe, “My way or the highway.”
If you truly want to obey God, then don’t worry about wandering away from his will. He has promised to guide you, and you can trust him to turn you around if necessary.
Oh! And don’t be surprised if God wants you to take the first step.