We took the job without having seen the house that came with it. It was the right church, with the right people, and we sensed God drawing us there.
At the time, we were living in a large curate’s house, and I was convinced that any other house would be inferior. But we took the job anyway, because how can you possibly make a ministry or vocational decision based on the house?
I loudly declared that I didn’t mind having a less good house to live in because those things didn’t matter. This was somewhat embarrassing when I actually moved in and discovered quite how beautiful and big our new house was.
The ceilings are so high they have picture railings, and the windows are plentiful and large; the rooms are roomy. Light bounces off the walls. We have a garden with springy grass and an apple tree which reminds us of seasons and harvest and just how important a good crop is to most farmers in the world.
I didn’t think the bricks and mortar, land, light, space, was important. But as soon as we moved into that house I wound up housebound with severe M.E.
Being housebound is hard, no matter where you are. But as prisons go, this has been a beautiful one, and a place of refuge. I have what Virginia Woolf would describe as ‘a room of one’s own’ – somewhere to create art without having to live in noisy, damp, dark or cramped conditions.
As a teenager, I used to think that Christians who cared about the kind of home they lived in or where they lived were shallow materialists. Surely the Lord is our dwelling place, and we should be happy wherever we are?
Evangelical theology often follows Ancient Greek thought in emphasising spiritual matters as more important than body, space, land. But the Old Testament emphasises these things, and describes God as someone who wanted a good house to dwell in – just look at the chapters spent on describing how the temple should be built.
God, dwelling with people, shared their desire for something more permanent, safe and beautiful than just a tent in the wilderness. We have a God-given longing for a ‘spacious place’.
I’m not glad that I’m housebound. But to be bound to this house, in particular, was an unforeseen blessing. Today I receive my house, for as long as I dwell in it, as a gift from God.
“When hard pressed, I cried to the Lord;
he brought me into a spacious place.” – Psalm 118: 5, NIVUK
Over to you:
- Can you relate with longing for a ’spacious place’? What does a ‘spacious place’ mean for you and your situation?
- How important is your physical home to you?
- How do you process that theologically?
Linking up with the folk at Five Minute Friday. This was my best five – ahem, seven – minutes on Place.
We have a God-given longing for a ‘spacious place’. Click To Tweet