Be careful what you pray for. You may get it.
I couldn't help but think of that old adage after Sunday's announcement that we had raised enough money to finalize the purchase of the Spring Hill Plaza property. Months of planning and praying had resulted in God revealing Himself and His will in a tremendous fashion.
Last fall, Life Spring signed a purchase contract to buy the building that formerly housed a grocery store and a day care, along with the adjacent shopping center with two vacant spaces (which we subsequently renovated into our church office and Youth Center) & spaces leased to a pizza restaurant and an insurance agency. In total, it involved 22,000 square feet sitting on 5 acres of land. We also contracted for options on 3 adjacent lots. Despite our best efforts, that deal fell through at the end of the year.
However, convinced that God was leading us to this property, we resumed negotiations and were able to come to terms with the seller once again. We brought this contract to the Life Spring congregation in February, once the financing package was put together, and they affirmed it with 98% approval of those members who voted.
Once again, however, we were coming down to the wire and it looked like we might not be able to close as scheduled on April 15. When all was said and done, we were $175,000 short of what was needed to purchase and renovate the property. Quite frankly, to some of us, it might as well have been a million dollars. How would our new, small congregation raise that kind of money in just two weeks? Given our average attendance, that represented about $1000 for each man, woman and child who attends services each week.
But we continued to pray. We brought the need to the congregation. We didn't beg. We didn't threaten. We didn't manipulate. We informed the congregation of the need, and we prayed, "Lord, if you want us to own this property, then you must make it happen."
We talked with the sellers about seller financing--a provision they had included in our original deal, but subsequently had pulled off the table. Although they were cool to the idea, they said they would be willing to consider some "small" amount--but they insisted on some concessions on our part.
As this past Sunday dawned, we had commitments for about half of the needed funds. We had a great response to the special offering, with many of our folks making sacrificial gifts. When we left services, we were just $30,000 short.
And then a call came in, then two. By sundown on Sunday evening, the $30,000 shortfall had been met, and we even had people calling on Monday morning willing to make up the difference if needed.
This isn't how the Elder Board envisioned God meeting the need. But meet the need He did. He challenged us to stop thinking of Him as a small, diminutive God, and to start seeing Him as a Great and Awesome God. He wants us to start attempting things that only He can do--we've done what "we" can do long enough.
As of this writing, the Bank and Realtors and insurance people and title company are all doing their thing, frantically working to meet the deadline of our closing on April 15th. And we keep praying, knowing that Satan has not stuck his head in the sand and admitted defeat. We know that if there is a trick up his sleeve, he'll use it. But God speaks to us "Do not fear--be of good courage." We've seen God do a miracle in our midst. And now we just bask in His glory.