My wife, Deborah, and I were living in the concrete jungle of downtown Chicago, working long hours completing projects for advertising clients. Being able to take time away from work to look at what God has made has always been an important respite for us. That particular year, we visited the islands of St. Thomas and St. John, where we spent time relaxing, being with God, and enjoying each other. As we took a boat from one island to the other, I was so overwhelmed by the beauty of the area that I cried as I soaked in God’s handiwork.
That vacation in the islands led us to believe God for a home there. In fact, a couple of years later, when we were wandering around the seacoast, we found the perfect house in the perfect location—right on a little beach on the island of St. John. We soon found out that the house was owned by the National Park Service, but we were bold in faith and claimed that it would one day be ours. We knew that the favor of God could overcome anything, even the government, to get us our dream house.
Walking with the Lord is always a learning experience, if we are open to His wisdom and leading. After believing for two years that the house on St. John would one day be ours, we heard the Lord speak to us, asking us to release the house. To be honest, at first we were somewhat let down, but then we remembered something we had learned about God’s favor: If God asks you to give something up, He has something better for you. So we released the claim of faith we had placed on the house.
As we traveled to the islands on a frequent basis, we realized that it would actually be more practical to have a house on St. Thomas, where the airport was located, and where there was access to grocery stores and other necessities. So we put our faith in God to provide a beach house for us on St. Thomas. We were told that this was impossible, because the best beach properties belonged to the resorts, and there was no private property available.
For two more years, we continued to believe that the favor of God would provide us with a beach house. Then we met a realtor, a man in his sixties with sparkling eyes, who knew everyone on the island. He said to give him a week, and he would show us exactly what we wanted.
As it turned out, at the same time that we had released the beach house on St. John two years earlier, a wealthy landowner with holdings all over the islands made an important decision. He relinquished a 50-acre parcel of land, which he had originally reserved for his family, to be developed. Because God had moved on this man’s heart to change his plans, we had the opportunity to purchase an acre of beachfront property, where we then built the exact house we had always wanted. Without the favor of God operating in our lives, this never would have happened.