30 January, 2014

Making All Things Work Together for Good

Well, here I am, worshipping at the awesome young adult ministry that is The R.O.C.K., a portion of the Mount of Olives Church campus on the opposite side of Chrisanta Drive that's just for us. Nicole Stirling, one of the youth directors, filled in for Pastor Jim Reynen, out sick with pneumonia, and preached an awesome sermon that centered mostly on Romans 5:1-5, in which Paul told people to rejoice no matter what, even in suffering, why? Because often times, suffering tends to be blessing in disguise. I, fortunately, am a living example of that.

Back in 2003, my parents suffered from layoffs within weeks of each other. My family's combined income, overnight, was literally 65% less than it was before the double layoff. Fast forward to February 2008, and the mortgage on the house they used to own, $3000 per month previously, doubled to a staggering $6000 per month, forcing my parents to abandon that place in a short sale, which completed in June 2008.

The 9 months that followed were a nightmare. My dad of course had a second job in addition to the one he got laid off from — a night audit one at a hotel — and through it we were able to get employee discounts on hotel rooms. However, he could only get them for a week at a time, so we had to pack up everything and hop from hotel to hotel to hotel, until finally, in March 2009, my family was able to rent a townhouse.

Ah, but wait: The landlord who rented to us decided to rent-skim the place and not pay the mortgage that the rent paid for! So, it was time to move again, this time, into a 2-bedroom apartment. In July 2010, guess what? We were on the move again.

We were in that cramped apartment for a few months, when, out of the blue, my grandfather (on my dad's side of the family) had a heart attack while doing groceries and was dead before he hit the ground. What shocked us the most about the situation was that his wife — my grandmother — was in far worse shape than he was! It devastated us. Exactly a year later, of course, in the fall of 2011, my paternal grandmother also died.

A double bereavement sounds devastating, doesn't it? Ah, but wait: They had a house in a 55+ community in Murrieta worth a good $115,000, plus $58,000 in cash estate. That was enough for a down payment!

The house hunt went on and on. Of course, land $hark$ were on the move, and tried to outbid us with full-ca$h offers. Meanwhile, my parents were on the computer, looking at digital maps of houses do sale within our range in the area, and my friends and I were worshipping and praising God. While they were in their browsers at home, the unthinkable happened: A house for sale popped up on the map WHILE THEY WERE LOGGED IN, purely miraculously, and 2 hours later, our offer ended up being the first one. Guess what? It was accepted, and on November 16, 2012, the sale closed, and we were able to move into this 4-bedroom, 3-bath, 2100-square-foot miracle, with a mortgage of the same cost as the rent on the cramped apartment, all because of what normally would be a tragedy: the death of two family members.

Hopefully people who read this can also have this hope: if all you do is curse God and blame Him for hardships, remember that God is a God of love. It's the devil who creates these hardships in the first place, and this is proof that God is the one who is able to turn those hardships into blessings. So, I rest my case. This awesomeness is certainly something I am beyond glad to praise Him for.