Hard times, bad housing market, and a true home

A Christian Science perspective.

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In Hawaii, many homes for sale come with a leasehold on the land, meaning the owners don’t own the ground underneath the house. They just have a lease on it, usually for 55 years or so. Those moving to Hawaii may find it odd, but this temporary ownership is fairly common here. Houses and the land we live on are just ours for a while, a joy to have, but not to keep.

Eventually others will call our home their home. We are stewards for the next occupants, in the spirit of the biblical preacher in the book of Ecclesiastes: “To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven:... a time to keep, and a time to cast away” (3:1, 6).

Or a time to move. My family has lived in the same house for three decades, and we feel it’s time for it to bless a younger family. But we’re told that now is not the time to sell. Mortgages are hard to get. People are out of work. The global economy is staggering. Are the naysayers right?

Not to worry. There are no unmet needs, or lack of any kind, in God’s kingdom. The beloved 23rd Psalm promises we will “dwell in the house of the Lord for ever.” God formed His creation to be inhabited.

I’ve learned to turn to our Maker in hard times to bring more of His blessings into my experience, but not to change any person, place, or thing, or to ask for more than He has already done. “Do we expect to change perfection?” Mary Baker Eddy asks in her major work, “Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures.” “Shall we plead for more at the open fount, which is pouring forth more than we accept?” (p. 2).

To enjoy our birthright as children of God, we need to turn away from the pull of human egotism, that always-wrong personal sense that we know what’s best. That’s God’s work. He always has a perfect place for each of His children. Life’s trials quail before our divinely derived power over anything unlike God, good. Mrs. Eddy wrote, “Divine Love always has met and always will meet every human need” (Science and Health, p. 494).

The best house my wife, Judi, and I ever owned looked like a hard sell in 1975. Deep in a Tennessee “holler,” it was at the end of a long dirt road – a lovely redwood house with beamed ceilings, two brick fireplaces, and a deck overlooking woods.

But that dream house of mine posed daunting challenges. Schools were distant. Our tiny hamlet, in the state’s second-poorest county, was 25 miles from Nashville, with no nearby stores, restaurants, or movies. We had no trash pickup or sewers.

After a company move to Des Moines, Iowa, our remote house in the woods sat on the market for six months. Judi and our three kids stayed behind while I took up new duties in Iowa and Nebraska. The separation was difficult, but we knew God would lead us to the right buyer. By turning to God in testing times, trusting His timetable, not mine, I’ve learned that divine Love doesn’t come and go, or lift you up just to let you down. In Tennessee, our need was met by a bachelor professor from Vanderbilt University, who bought the house on his first visit. “This house is perfect for me,” he said. 

Our present home has been on the market for 10 months. We are confident that our heavenly Father is guiding the new owners to their home, just as He led that bearded college professor to our backwoods door in Tennessee. The best things in life are not temporal – here today and gone tomorrow. In my study of Christian Science, I’ve learned that the best is not yet to come, it’s already here. We don’t need to pin our hope and faith to some future good. It’s enough to know that divine Love’s always-present provision is here and now. In the spiritual realm of the real, there are no past mistakes or dreary tomorrows. There’s only divine good in the eternal now.

We don’t regret our home’s plunging price, but see it as a blessing. Our home is now affordable, making our desirable area and its good schools more accessible.

A psalm says, “They [the new owners!] shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of thy house” (36:8).

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