But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” 1 Corinthians 2:9
We had to have the wrong address. Judy and I came home after living three years in Germany and headed to our new duty assignment. We stopped in Georgia to visit with family for a couple of weeks and then headed to Missouri. We were assigned to Whiteman Air Force Base near Knob Noster, Missouri. Yes, friend, there is a Knob Noster. We arrived there only to find out that the State Fair was being held about twenty miles away. There were no hotel rooms. Nada. None. Period.
Knob Noster only had a couple of small hotels and both said they were full. Judy was expecting and I was starting to feel like the Bible story of Mary and Joseph. You know, the whole no room deal. Well, the one place said try back that afternoon and maybe someone will check out. They did and we had a room.
First, you need to understand this was back in 1980 so there was no internet to check ratings and all of that. Second, the bottom line it was the only room in town. Third, it was bad—as in not good. Bad as in bugs. Bad as in bad. But still, we were grateful. It was a place to sleep. God is good. Probably though, I need to be more specific next time when I ask for a place to stay. I needed to learn from Judy.
The very next day we start looking for a place to live. There was a town called Warrensburg about ten miles from the base. It had a small university and was a nice midwestern small town. Unfortunately, housing options were very limited. The few places the real estate person showed us were small, dated and pricey. Now Judy had this prayer thing down. She had asked God for a house with a fireplace. My expectations weren’t that high. I had asked God for a house without bugs. She was much more creative than me. Honestly, I wasn’t sure God was going to pull off either one of our requests. And then he came along.
No, it wasn’t God but he was God’s delivery man. His name was Mario—like the brothers. He kinda looked like Danny DeVito. He too was a real estate agent and he had heard us talking with the other agent. He came over and introduced himself. He said, “You know, I have a house that I had built but haven’t been able to sell. I might be willing to rent it to you.” He gave us the address and told us go and check it out. It was just outside of town in a neighborhood called, “Valley View.”
We drove out and turned in and started checking addresses. At the end of the first road we had to go left or right on Valley View Circle. We went left and began looking for house number 209. Soon, on the right, was number 209. But wait…this couldn’t be the right place. It was a new, beautiful three bedroom split level brick home. We were shocked and said, “No, this can’t be right.” We went and peeked in the windows. “No, no way. Must have the wrong address.” And then we saw it. A massive chimney connected to a big fireplace.
Well, this was too much. Judy and I were beyond excited. This was more, so much more, than we ever expected in our wildest expectations. We immediately went back to the real estate office and hunted down Mario. “Well,” he said, “I’ve changed my mind. Sorry, no deal.” Naw…just kidding. He said he liked us, trusted us and would be willing to work with us. The bottom line is he rented it to us at below market value. He said he would need a security deposit and we told him we didn’t have anything saved up. He readily agreed to tack $25 a month onto the rent till we had that covered. Oh, and of course, it was refundable.
So, that is how Judy and I moved into our Cinderella castle at 209 Valley View Circle. Oh, and the yard needed landscaping, so he paid me to do that and took it off the rent. Amazing. You have probably already guessed that this is one of our favorite God stories. I still smile as I write this because it is just one example of how God has showered us with His love and grace. A fireplace? Really? New brick home? Yup. God is good.
Now God wasn’t good because He gave us a really nice house when there was no way we could afford one. God wasn’t even good because He gave Judy a fireplace. No, God is just good. Sometimes it is very obvious and sometimes it takes a little faith to see it. But He is good. Someone once said, “God is good and He is good at being God.” I was thankful for the Knob Noster Motel (bugs and all) because it was better than sleeping in our car. But I was also thankful for the time He gave us our wildest dream. 1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “But, as it is written, “What no eye has seen, nor ear heard, nor the heart of man imagined, what God has prepared for those who love him.” I know that is probably talking about heaven but I think it has to apply here too. Over the years there have been some real winner mountaintops when God just showed off. But do you know what? There have been some valleys too. Hard times when we couldn’t see the next step. The big take away has always been, “God is good. God is faithful. God can be trusted.” So, I’m gonna lay my head down tonight and rest in Him believing that. After all, He’s got this.”