I want to tell you a story. I may have told this same story in a previous blog, but there’s more to it now. I’ve told this story to many people, because I want everyone to know how wonderful God is.
About five years ago, I was on an evening walk through my neighborhood. I walked frequently in the evenings; it was one of my favorite times to talk to God. On this particular evening, I heard God say to me in my heart, “So what are your dreams?” I had to smile. Why would God ask me such a thing, since He knows me intimately? Nonetheless, I began to search deep in my heart, and pulled them out, one by one. There was one dream in particular that I felt uncomfortable mentioning to Him, because it was almost as though I expected too much. I wanted a house next to a creek where I could listen to that beautiful sound of rushing water every day. But even as I stated it, I felt ashamed, because for some reason, I believed that that reality was for someone else, not me. I knew that water property is always expensive, and most likely, beyond my reach.
Just last May, I thought I’d go online and check out water properties for sale in our area of Washington. I happened to see land for sale next to a creek, but there was only one picture, and it looked like little more than a swamp. I called my boyfriend (now my husband) and told him about it. I said that it didn’t look promising, and it was probably too far out in the country. He replied, “What the heck. Let’s go look at it.” When we arrived, we were stunned at how beautiful the land was…3.5 acres of pristine forested land with beautiful bird song like I’d never heard before, and a beautiful creek. We were awestruck. The native flora was so thick, we had to have boots on to make our way across the property which was waist-high in most places…sword ferns, devil’s club, bleeding hearts, foxgloves, nettles, huckleberry. The price was stunningly reasonable. I’d seen a lot of basic lots go for more than what each one of these acres cost–I’d even seen one-acre lots with no creek go for more than the entire asking price on this property.
I told my friend about it, and about a week later, she called me and said, “Well, are you going to make an offer?” Oddly, I hadn’t let my mind go there up to that point. I already had a perfectly good home which my husband moved into after we got married. It seemed almost presumptuous to consider buying this property which, at one time, I described to my husband as “one step below heaven.” I mean, would God want us to have such a beautiful place to live and build our dream home? We weren’t even engaged yet, but we knew we were committed to each other.
After talking with my girlfriend, the idea played in my mind. Really, Father God? Really? Is that what you would give to us? It seemed too good to be true. But it would also be an enormous amount of work. Slowly, it became clear that it was there for the taking; I just had to believe–and actually accept–that God had saved it for us. I had what a preacher recently called a “poverty mentality.” I couldn’t seem to get my mind around the fact that God wanted to give me my dream. Finally, though, after my husband and I prayed under a big cedar tree on the property, and asked God to lead us and help us, we made an offer. It was on the bank of that creek that my husband proposed to me. And it was on the bank of that creek, two weeks before our wedding, when I was seeking God alone to make sure I was marrying the right man, that I found a large piece of wood, shaped like a heart, wedged between two stones as water rushed around it…God’s answer to my prayer.
Oddly, I had forgotten all about that moonlight walk with God several years before, until the day that the property became legally ours. I was standing in my kitchen, and God spoke to my heart. He said, quite simply, “I remembered your dream.” That was all He needed to say. My heart overflowed with the sweetness of His love, and the tears spilled down my cheeks.
The property became ours in early July, and I had looked at my husband and said, “I wonder if this is a salmon creek. Do you think we’ll have salmon coming up to spawn?” Ever since moving to Washington in 1996, I have been absolutely delighted and fascinated with watching the salmon run. So it was a thrill a few weeks ago to go to the property and see salmon making their way upstream.
But I wasn’t prepared for what happened on Saturday. We took my husband’s sister to the property for the first time. When we got to the creek, it was literally teeming with salmon. They were everywhere, hundreds of them. They were spawning in the little pools, wriggling up through the rocks, fighting their way up through the small falls. I’d never seen a creek anywhere in Washington filled with so many fish.
At one place in the creek, there’s a little “island” so that a smaller portion of the creek becomes a stream on one side. Unfortunately, a large fish was trying to make its way up through this shallow stream. It looked tired. I went over, put my hands underneath its belly to lift it up and carry it to a better place, but it instantly started wriggling again so I let it go on its journey.
I’ll never forget looking down the creek and seeing so many fish making their way up. It was perhaps the most illustrative picture I have of God’s provision in my life. He gave us not just a few fish but hundreds. Not just any house, but a dream house yet to be built on a piece of property just one step below heaven. This is His kingdom, and He wants to bless us with its bounty.
God doesn’t want us to have a poverty mentality, but an abundance mentality. He wants to bless us, but we need to believe that. He owns the cattle on a thousand hills, and the salmon in a thousand streams. If you have a dream, perhaps God has placed it there so that He can bring it to pass. Why don’t you go for an evening stroll, and have a talk with Him about it?
You do not have, because you do not ask. (James 4:2b)