Whether I am looking for a job, a car, a place to live, a church to attend, what college to go to or what ice cream to buy at the supermarket, I could thoroughly inspect all the options the world can offer but only God can see the future and knows what is ultimately best for me. What may appear to be the perfect and most ideal option may be riddled with problems and become a huge burden in ways I could never imagine.
When it comes to making big decisions in particular, I am so thankful God has been gracious to faithfully give me bright, flashing, neon signs to point me in the right direction.
This certainly proved true when it came time to choose which university I should attend. My flashing neon-sign was an unshakeable and incomprehensible peace, even in the face of having no earthly idea how I would pay for tuition. If you’ve read many of my other ripe banana stories, you may remember how I was also given hard-to-miss signs when it came to whether or not I should buy a Vespa, fly to a friend’s wedding, work as a sports photographer in college or go on a study abroad program to Florence… to name a few.
One of my more recent flashing, neon signs came in the form of furniture.
The end of this month (April 2016) brings with it the one year anniversary of when I moved into my current apartment. Here’s the story of the flashing neon sign that led me to this particular place:
While the real estate market here in the small town where I live isn’t huge, I did have an assortment of places to look at in the area. Where I landed happens to be one of the places I saw the very first day I started looking at apartments.
When I first saw this place, I immediately fell in love with the “upper room” and large, roof-top terrace. It’s location in the very center of town was also a big plus. But these weren’t the things that convinced me this is where I am supposed to live. My “flashing neon sign” or what, in reality, felt like an invisible tap on the shoulder from Jesus, happened when I first met my landlord.
After spending more than a month looking at various options around town, I came back to the first real estate agent I had worked with and inquired some more about the place next door to their office. The agent offered to make arrangements for me to meet the landlord. While we were talking he asked,
“I hear you don’t have any furniture of your own. Would you like some?”
I asked what type of furniture he was talking about and as he began to list the furniture he was willing to include with the apartment, it felt as though the Lord immediately began whispering to me:
“This is your flashing neon sign! Don’t miss it! This is the place where you are to live!”
The list of furniture included: the kitchen with a sink, stove, oven and refrigerator, (most apartments here don’t come with any of these), all of the bedroom furniture and a large library unit. My landlord saved me at least 2000 euro by providing these things for me. From what I understand however, under normal circumstances, he would not have offered this furniture to me, at least not without asking for more rent. But here’s the story from the other side:
This particular set of furniture had previously been occupying another one of the landlord’s vacant properties. About a week before I met with the landlord, someone showed interest in wanting to move in to the place where the furniture had been occupying but the new tenants already had furniture of their own and didn’t want the furniture that was already there. These new tenants were wanting to move in immediately putting my landlord in a predicament as to what to do with the unwanted furniture… then I show up at his door less than a week later, showing interest in the apartment where I now live where there was both the space and the need for the furniture!
A week or so after I moved in, some friends of mine told me of a place they had just heard about that was much newer than my apartment, had great neighbors and was cheaper too. They were sad for me that my apartment initially needed a lot of fixing up and that I could be paying a bit less for a much nicer place. There’s a good reason they didn’t hear about that place until after I moved in… it wasn’t for me. I don’t need to share in their regret or ever entertain the idea,
“if only I had moved into this apartment… or that one…”
I know I am where I am supposed to be. Besides, as Paul puts it so eloquently:
“From one man he (God), made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us.” -Acts 17:26-27