While the apocryphal books are not considered Scripture in Christian Reformed orthodoxy, sometimes they can be used to strike home a spiritual point. Such is the case in 2 Esdras 4:34, where the angel tells Ezra, “Don’t be in a greater hurry than God Most High!”
Several years ago, God was calling my wife and me to establish a group home for people with developmental disabilities. This calling came at the right time. We are in our 80s, and our developmentally disabled son, Andy, will surely outlive us. We began looking at group homes in our area and felt, for one reason or another, that they were not suitable. Some were outside the area that Peckham Industries serves, and Andy loves working there. Some were operated by wonderful parents, but what if one got sick and the other could not continue?
In short, we wanted our son to live in a home that is as nice as the one where he lives now, close to his work, and close to River Terrace Christian Reformed Church, where he is loved by all who know him. We wanted the home to be large enough to have a cash flow to meet monthly expenses without constantly asking for contributions. And since many people who are developmentally disabled love to interact with others, we wanted this home to have enough residents to establish close friendships, just like folks do who live in senior housing or assisted care.
We set to work diligently to establish this home, which we call Joshua’s Place. River Terrace church helped by forming an interest committee. Then a board of directors was formed. Someone donated money to buy a 4.85 acre plot within a mile of Peckham, and River Terrace took up a generous offering. Another group called “100 Women Who Care” gave us over $10,000. An architect donated his service for preliminary plans, and many volunteers from church pitched in to make the property pleasing to the eye. We were granted 501(c)(3) nonprofit status and received a special land use permit from Delta Township that was good for two years or until October 2013. Things were moving in the right direction. We were on top of the world.
But then our U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) application for construction funds was rejected on a technicality. This was a serious blow. Applying for a HUD grant and receiving a reply had taken a year’s time. Now we had less than a year before our permit expired.
Clearly God had to hurry with alternate funding. There was much prayer, even with hints going up to heaven as to how God might supply the necessary funds. In reply came some hints from heaven. We had more work to do. It turned out the land engineer’s plans had to be tweaked. The floor plan could use some changes. The system for storm water disposal had to be rethought and other professional advice obtained.
In working with governmental agencies, private sector professionals, and other nonprofit agencies, there were agonizing times when we simply had to wait. Couldn’t God just say the word and get these folks working a bit faster?
He could. But God called us to do this work, and God called us to work with them. He has his timetable. He knows how to work with people who are slow to act. Ultimately, God doesn’t worry about HUD turning down a good application. He knows who he wants the donors to be. And what God wishes will come about in a very timely way.
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- Feature: Tending God’s Creation
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