When my landlord told me he was going to sell our rental home, I wasn’t surprised. I’d seen “for sale” signs popping up all over town. Home prices in June 2021 were a whopping 19 percent year over year. If you’re a homeowner who’s been thinking of selling, it would seem now’s the time to do it.
But if you’re a renter, or someone trying to buy a home, there’s lots to make you nervous, such as federal struggles over an extended eviction moratorium and a housing market that’s increasingly squeezing out middle- and low-income families. The hunt may be exciting at first, but in the current market it quickly grows wearisome. Whether you’re looking for an affordable rental or waiting to finally win a bid on a house you can call your own, chances are, your heart could use a little encouragement. Thankfully, even in this everyday life circumstance, Jesus understands.
As I packed for my recent move (our family’s third in four years), my eyes fell on my Bible, and the thought flickered across my mind: Jesus understands. For his entire adult ministry, Jesus was the ultimate couch surfer—receiving meals from friends and family, sleeping on borrowed mats in someone else’s home. Even at the zenith of his popularity, as he set his feet toward Jerusalem, Jesus reminded his disciples, “Foxes have dens and birds have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
The whole world was under Jesus’s dominion, but he was also a human like you and me, wired for stability and belonging. No doubt, displacement made him feel unsettled from time to time, especially when the bed was hard or the neighbors disliked his presence. Jesus may have moved about freely in the world, but he wasn’t the Allman Brothers’ Ramblin’ Man. So as you pack your boxes, find reassurance that he understands the uncertainty you face in your housing situation. Jesus commiserates with the frustration you feel about finding a spot to call your own. As you wait for God’s plans to unfold and his provision to arrive, you’re not alone. Jesus has been there, too.
As you wait for God’s plans to unfold and his provision to arrive, you’re not alone. Jesus has been there, too.
When you’re worried about where you’ll live, it’s easy to feel rootless and adrift. Especially if pandemic isolation has loosened community ties, you may wonder where you belong anymore. You might not have even seen your current neighbors much in the last year, and now you’re moving. What does home look like when you’re not sure what your forwarding address will be?
Community, and the lack thereof, matters deeply to God. In perfect wonder, God celebrates community as Father, Son, and Spirit. Your longing for a community matters to him. God looked at Adam and said, “It is not good that the man should be alone,” and he speaks the same words over you, too. While you’re scrolling Zillow or visiting open houses trying to imagine yourself in a new neighborhood, be assured that loneliness is not God’s intention for you either. He can and will provide community wherever you’re heading.
Birds, Lilies, and You
Have you cringed recently when you shared your housing concerns and a friend offered the well-meaning reply, “God will provide”? You know it’s true—that he feeds the birds of the air and dresses the lilies of the field. But if you’re wondering if you can pay the rent or afford a mortgage, those trustworthy words can pinch a little. Faith can grow feeble when you look at your checkbook. The troubles of today can feel so big that they overshadow the truth of God’s promises of provision.
If you find yourself starting to doubt God’s provision as you wait for a home, take a cue from the psalmist and remind God of his promises when you come to prayer. Throughout Israel’s ancient songbook, the psalmist reminds God of his commitments to his people. He doesn’t do this because God will forget, but because remembrance in the midst of doubt can be a form of praise.
So, when your heart grows weary of well-meaning reminders from others, remind God yourself. Remember, God, that you said you’d take care of all my needs. Or, as David writes in Psalm 119, “Remember your word to your servant, in which you have made me hope.” Let your prayers be like those of the widow in Luke 18, persistently reminding God of your need and of his promises, praying with faith for the things you don’t see yet.
When your heart grows weary of well-meaning reminders from others, go ahead and remind God yourself. Remember, God, that you said you’d take care of all my needs.
Christ Is Our Home
As you file the rental application or draw up your competitive purchase offer, look down at your hands. Are they unknowingly clenched? Has engagement with a home search revealed your heart’s baser instincts to grasp at material things or clutch at outward markers of security? If so, gently open your hands and recall your truest address. Christ is your home.
There’s a deep vulnerability that comes from displacement and housing insecurity. I’ve felt it myself; and, no doubt, you feel it, too. But as you scroll and search and wait to sign, let your open hands remind you that you always rest secure in the palm of God’s hand, hidden safely away in Christ.
Whether your search for a home is short or long, God invites you to trust that his care for you is rooted in his lavish goodness. If you’re sleeping on a friend’s couch tonight or waiting for the landlord to renew your lease, God offers security when you feel rootless and abundance when you see your life divvied up in moving boxes. Regardless of what the housing market might say, in Christ, you’re already home.