A Sabbath Miracle

March 2009


My husband, Rob, and I have been making plans to emigrate to New Zealand (NZ). Rob has found a job there and has gone ahead of me to work whilst I stayed behind to sell the house. The house went on the market in September 2008, just before fear took over the land with a plummeting economy. Of course with Christmas also looming and the winter season, the house market was sluggish. We were getting very few viewings and no offers. 

Months passed with yet more viewings, but no one was interested in buying. The viewings have been taking place mostly on Saturdays. And with each Saturday viewing, the little voice in my heart kept saying, "Keep the Saturday Sabbath holy, don't be taking viewings on Saturdays because effectively you are selling / trading, and Sabbath should be a day of rest". Indeed it is written:

Exodus 20:8-11

"Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy. Six days you shall labour and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the LORD your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your manservant or maidservant, nor your animals, nor the alien within your gates. For in six days the LORD made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the LORD blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.


In case you are wondering, the "alien within your gates" being referred to in the passage are not aliens from another planet, but rather they are people who would be directly associated with me; in the case of this story, they were the Estate Agents. Of course, by accepting viewings on Saturdays, it meant that I was making them work (yes, Estate Agents work on Saturdays anyway, but that is through their own choice). If it were, as much as possible, in my power not to make them work, then I should exercise that power.
 
March 2009 came with still no progress on the house, so I made the decision to turn down Saturday viewings. This was difficult because I was tempted not to miss out on potential buyers on Saturdays - and yes, they could come another day, but what if they didn't? After all, I can't be choosy during this bleak economy! These were the fearful thoughts that were tearing me away from being faithful to God, so it was time to change that.
 
Sure enough my first test came, the Estate Agent called with a Saturday viewing. I turned it down, but the Estate Agent came back saying, 
"Oh but Elma, the people who want to come to view your house will be in the neighbourhood on Saturday because they would have already seen 3 other houses that day, so it would be convenient for them to see your house afterwards". 

The temptation came over me and I heard myself saying,"Oh OK, they can come". No sooner had I said that, the little voice in my heart convicted me again, and I knew what I did was wrong. I immediately prayed to God saying, "Lord God, my spirit is willing but my flesh is weak, I cannot do this on my own strength! I need your help to keep the Sabbath holy, please forgive me! Help me to try again but this time with YOUR strength and not mine"

So the following Monday around 10:00 AM, the Estate Agent called again trying to arrange yet another Saturday viewing. This time I was ready and said, 

"No I am sorry, from now on I will not be taking Saturday viewings for religious reasons". 

They were shocked at this because I had been accepting Saturday viewings for the last 6 months, but they respected my wishes and the viewing was re-arranged for Sunday. As I realised that I had succeeded in overcoming the temptation to take viewings on Saturdays, I smiled to God and thanked Him for His help and strength. I knew now I have made things right with God and He will make something wonderful happen.

A mere 2 hours later, the Estate Agent rang again and said, "Elma, we just had a call from the local property newspaper asking if they could print your property on the front page for this week's edition? and it will be free, it won't cost you anything! It has been years since we have had this kind of opportunity". I couldn't believe my ears and replied, "Why, of course they can!" I knew that this was a blessing from God after I had made the decision to honour His Sabbath. 

The paper was printed on Wednesday that same week. The picture of our house on the front page was awesome, striking, and very eye-catching. Even if you weren't looking to buy a house, if you see the paper lying around, you would want to pick it up to see just what the house is all about. 


Sunday came and people arrived to view the house, the viewings went well. 

Then Monday around 9:30 AM, the Estate Agent rang with an OFFER! The couple who came on Sunday (the day before) had fallen in love with it and had made an offer on the house. 

It was merely a week since I had truly started to keep the Sabbath holy that God sold my house! I knew in my heart that had I done this way back in September 2008, God would have sold it sooner too. I also knew that if I had not made the steps to keep the Sabbath holy, the house would still be on the market now, unsold.


It is so typical of human beings (at least me) wanting to do things our own way and not putting God first. Consequently things take longer to be accomplished, with difficulties along the way. How often do we try to solve our own problems instead of giving them to God? I have learnt this very lesson (of keeping the Sabbath holy) years ago, yet knowing the lesson was not good enough. The lesson needs to be applied appropriately to new situations in life, as new challenges come, and temptations to deviate from God's Word arise.

This reminded me of the Israelites who took 40 years to enter the Promise Land when it could have taken them only 11 days - all because of their unfaithfulness to God.

Deuteronomy 8:2

Remember how the LORD your God led you all the way in the desert these forty years, to humble you and to test you in order to know what was in your heart, whether or not you would keep his commands.

So it has taken me 6 months to get an offer on the house when it could have taken me only a week!

I am, however, very thankful to God for using my house selling situation to teach me how to keep the Sabbath holy -- because through this, my relationship with God became closer and more fulfilling; ultimately this is far better than having the house sold.