Tuesday, 28 August 2012

The Verse - Ephesians 3:20

Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us...
Ephesians 3:20 ESV

Luke and I pray together every night before we go to sleep. This advice was given to us by a lovely older American couple we met in Taiwan. They said the most important thing for their marriage was to come together before the end of the day and pray. After all, it’s hard to hold a grudge against someone at the foot of the cross, isn’t it?

Being married, we naturally end up praying for the same things, and it’s been really incredible how God has answered these prayers “far more abundantly than we ask or think”. Every time He does, this verse pops into my mind. The second thing that pops into mind is: Gee, I should really write all of these down. So that’s what I’m writing about today: amazingly answered prayers.

1)      The Weather at the Wedding
Okay, I know everyone wants to get married on a nice sunny day, but for us this was more of a need than a want. It was an outdoor wedding with no shelter and no backup plan - oh, and did I mention it was winter? So it was either nice weather or get wet. In the days before the wedding, Luke and I prayed a LOT for nice weather. As time went by and we saw the rain forecasts closing in on our wedding day, our prayers became smaller and smaller. “Okay Lord, overcast is fine, even a bit of drizzle, but no downpour please” or  “Lord, it can rain before and after the ceremony, please just not while it's going.” Well, if you’ve seen my photos from last week, you’ll know it was a gloriously sunny day. Though it had rained for 2 weeks leading up to the wedding, we had blue skies and not a drop of rain on the day. And it was Luke’s dad who quoted Ephesians 3:20 to me.

2)      Finding a Job for Me
The plan after we got married was pretty simple: move to Wellington, Luke would continue postgraduate study, and I would work. We prayed a lot that God would provide for us. Despite the unemployment rates in Wellington, I managed to get a job as a temp within 10 days after arriving in the city. Three months later I was offered a job as an administrator at a company where I still work. Although I had no customer support experience and limited administration skills, I was given the job because it so happened that the lady examining the CVs was from China and found it intriguing that I had studied Chinese in Taiwan.

3)      Finding an Apartment
When Luke and I first moved to Wellington we lived in a bedsit. It was tiny. I mean, on washing day you could barely get into the apartment. So we ate dinner sitting on the bed, and when we had guests around it was hippy-style on the floor. We had signed a three-month agreement which was due to expire in December. Neither of us had rented a proper flat before, so we were quite clueless about things like waiting lists and the fact that December is a particularly difficult time to find accommodation. We also really needed to move. The place we were renting was way too small, and we had friends coming to visit in January and there simply wasn’t room for them to stay.  Due to some "distraction" (deciding 6 weeks before we had to move that we might buy a place instead of renting, then realising the bank wouldn't be thrilled with our income level), we were down to 2 weeks before we had to move or be moved, and we still didn't have a place. We missed out on the only place we had applied for. Suffice to say we prayed a lot. Then, on a whim, we went to look at a place in an inner-city suburb. After deciding it ticked all our boxes, we asked to be put on the shortlist. However, it turned out the tenants were leaving for Mexico in 2 weeks, and it was pretty much first in, first served. In sum, the next day we met the landlady and the documents were signed. 

4) Promotions
I love the company I work for and I can really see that God has blessed me so much in the short time I've been there. However, after I had been there 6 months I found that I wasn't being challenged any more, so Luke and I prayed that God would help me with this. Then, out of the blue, my boss left and I was given half her responsibilities. 6 months later a similar feeling came on, and yet again my job changed. God has been so good to me at work, and I am so thankful to Him for all the opportunities He has provided.

5) Friends
When we first moved to Wellington, Luke and I didn't really know anyone. I was missing my family and friends a lot and feeling quite homesick. Although I'm quite extraverted, I was finding it hard to make friends - even at church, which I found puzzling since you'd think that would be the easiest place to make friends. After praying about this, I met a wonderful girl called Carolyn and another equally wonderful girl named Anna. Both these girls' friendships have been such a joy and blessing to me, and I know they were a direct answer to my prayers. 
6) Church
Although we enjoyed the church we originally attended in New Zealand, Luke and I were always wishing we could go somewhere with a bit more in-depth, challenging teaching. We had also somehow only managed to make 2 good friends in our whole time attending this church (2 very good friends, but all the same). We were craving fellowship in a church that had a strong hunger for the Word and theology. One Sunday we went to visit a new church in an outer suburb of Wellington. The saints there were so welcoming - it was almost like we were family from the moment we walked in the door. There was a deep love for God and an abundance of rich theological teaching at the church. We spent the rest of the day saying "That was so good!" to each other. God has been so good to show us the way to this church.

7) Job for Luke
After Luke finished his degree earlier this year, we were a bit unsure about whether we could stay in Wellington, as it depended where he could find work. However, we really wanted to stay now that we had found this wonderful new church. We accordingly started praying hard for Luke to find a job. Not long after finishing the degree, he was offered one, and now has full-time work. Because of this, we can live in Wellington and attend the church we started going to.

8) The House
Once Luke got a job, we decided that we were in a financial position to look at buying a house in Wellington. The hunt started optimistically, but we soon became a little depressed. There isn't a lot on the real estate market at the moment, and any good houses got snapped up faster than you could blink. We quite liked one place and decided to go for it, only to find that an offer had already been accepted. Not long after that, we recalculated our budget and decided our limit was a bit lower than we'd previously thought. All this meant we were getting a bit tired of the house search and had become somewhat pessimistic about our prospects of finding one. Nevertheless, we kept praying for God to show us the place He wanted us in.
Finally, only about a month ago we decided to go look at a house in Lower Hutt, where prices are lower than in Wellington proper. We liked the place so much that we put in an offer, and got a price within our budget. Only last Friday, it became unconditional (as you may have read in another recent post) and we are now officially home owners! Besides this, all the multitude of paperwork and admin jobs have pretty much fallen into place. On top of it all, our new house is much nicer than any that we looked at or wanted previously. Another great blessing, and another answered prayer.

Why is it that somehow we always tend to shrink our prayers? You know what I’m talking about. We make them more achievable or “realistic”. If we know something is in God’s will, what’s wrong with praying big?

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