In 2011, God answered our family’s prayers and bestowed upon us a most generous miracle. My wife and I had accumulated considerable student loan debt, after college (2008), and we moved into my parents' basement. The situation certainly wasn’t ideal, but we were thankful for the help that my folks were willing to offer.
During this time, it was difficult for me to find employment, even with two degrees, for we were living through what eventually became known as the Great Recession, and jobs were scarce. I eventually got a job working as a receiving manager for a local department store. It didn’t pay the best but at least it was a job and we started paying off our debt. We continued to look for other employment as the years went by but were unable to find anything better. We also were working with a local bank trying to get a mortgage for a house or land, but we had very few options because we just couldn’t afford much. Every time we got close to getting a house something would fall through. We prayed and prayed that we would be able to find a house or property that would suit our family’s needs, but we just couldn’t close the deal before someone snatched it up. To make matters worse, my employer eventually cut my hours at work. Some weeks I would work full time hours and other weeks I had considerably less.
One summer afternoon, during the middle of the week, I was told not to come to work because they didn’t need me. So, there I was, at my folk’s house when my wife told me that there was a tractor broken down on the highway just outside my parent’s driveway. My wife encouraged me to go and see if they needed help. I went out to them. There were two men, one older, and the other a teenager. I offered to help them with the tools that were in my Dad’s shed, but they had everything under control. Now in order to fully grasp the significance of this meeting you must understand that I had no idea who these men were, neither did they know me. We were complete strangers. Just keep this in mind, as I continue the story.
Months later, I applied for a job at a local grocery store. The position did not pay much, but at least it would be consistent work, with full time hours. I accepted the position but upon my first day of work, the Store Director called me into his office and told me that a position just opened up. It was the third shift grocery manager position. Apparently, there was a disagreement between the previous man who held this position and his boss, so he quit. The position paid almost double what I was getting at the department store. I was thrilled with the money but was not looking forward to working overnights.
Nevertheless, I happily accepted the position and worked there for less than two months when my mother told me of a property that was for sale, a forty-acre parcel, by a farmer who was looking to sell. My wife found his number in the phonebook and I called him up. He invited me and my father down to his farm to take a look at it. We walked the whole property with him, and absolutely loved it. It was everything that my wife and I could have ever hoped for: forty acres, on top of a hill, on a dead-end road, overlooking the small town of Chaseburg Wisconsin. Fifteen acres of woods while the rest was tillable, a curvy dirt road to get to the far side of the property, and even a small pond near the woods. It was beautiful. It was absolutely everything a person could want in a property. Now, here is the amazing part. At the end of the tour, the farmer looked at me and asked “Do I know you?” I responded with “I don’t think so.” And then, to my amazement he asked: “Are you the guy who helped me with my tractor about a year ago over on top of Hwy162?”
I couldn’t believe it. After all these years of waiting, our prayers had finally been answered. The farmer told me that he had three other offers on the property but that he could only pick his neighbors once, he was going to sell to us. In total, it was sixteen days from the time we first heard about the property until we purchased the land.
Now before you try and rationalize this and say that it was nothing more than luck, just think about the odds. What are the chances that I would have had my hours at work cut on the specific day that his tractor broke down? What are the chances that his tractor broke down on the highway directly across from my parents' house, especially because his property is at least an hour drive from my folks’ house by way of an old tractor? What are the chances that this farmer wanted to sell at this time? What are the chances that he would have remembered my face, having only seen me one time, a whole year before? What are the chances that just a couple months earlier I would find a better job to afford such a place? What are the chances that the previous third shift grocery manager would have had a dispute at work, so that he would quit his job, allowing me to take his position?
If it were up to chance, my family would not have this property. This land is a gift from God, a modern day miracle. It was an answer to our prayers and we will forever praise God for this and all the other gifts He generously has given us, especially the gift of His Heavenly Land, of which we patiently wait. Praise be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit.