It's Not Fair
At least ten minutes had passed as I stood there alone and awkward at the customer service window of the Warrington Township Municipal Office last month--the local government office where Dalia and I live. It was just me separated from the municipal employees by locked doors and a glass window. I fidgeted unsure whether to just keep standing at the window or to walk over to and sit at the public bench about fifteen feet away. I decided to stay standing at the window. I wanted my presence felt by the public officials on the other side of the glass. Just ten minutes earlier I was engaged in a surprisingly frustrating conversation with the Assistant Deputy of Inspections. We were both doing our best to maintain decorum as we went back and forth over what I thought was a simple matter. As it turns out, it wasn't so simple.
It all started a couple of months ago when I came home from the gym and was startled to see a dead deer in our horseshoe-shaped asphalt driveway. It felt surreal as I wondered what could have happened to this deer and what to do about it. Still wondering what to do, I walked into the house to let Dalia know. A few minutes later Dalia asked me to come to look out our front door. A large section of the iron-wrought fence spanning the entire width along the front of our property had somehow fallen to the ground. While I don't know exactly when the previous owners of this house erected the fence, given its weathered state it is pretty safe to assume the fence is probably as old as I am. We called the police as we had initially assumed that a car must have hit this heavy fence in an unsuccessful effort to avoid the deer. But, when the police arrived, he almost immediately explained the situation. The officer explained, "We see it a lot. The deer tried to jump the fence and got impaled on one of the iron spikes and pulled the fence over as it try to free itself." Gross. But, now it all made sense. My condolences to the deer. But, what about my fence? One call to our home insurance company confirmed that we have coverage to replace the fence. Another call to a fence company secured an estimate to replace the iron-wrought fence with a new aluminum one. But, there is just one final piece--a permit from the township office for the new fence.
And, herein lies the point of contention. The Assistant Deputy of Inspection's search through the historical records found no evidence that the original owners of this 80-year-old house were ever issued a permit to erect a fence. And, current ordinances allow fences only along the side and the rear of a property--absolutely not in the front. So, she reiterated, "Mr. Arnold, you are not allowed to replace your current fence with a new one."
A Prayer for Divine Favor
I was flabbergasted. She saw the frustration in my face and eventually said, "wait here".
As I stood there, a sudden impulse in my spirit said, "Pray for favor. Pray for favor right now." I closed my eyes and bowed my head. "Lord, I don't know if this fence situation matters to you. But, it is a pretty big deal for me. And, if you see fit to work this out on our behalf and have this township show us favor, I will do my best to make sure you get the glory for it. Thank you in advance. Amen." I opened my eyes and waited.
A few minutes later the Assistant Deputy of Inspections returned and summoned me into a room in a secured area. She described to me how she went to the Chief Inspector to advocate for my case. After listening to her plea, the Chief Inspector said, "Just tell him no." She asked again. He repeated the same thing. She walked out of his office feeling defeated. As she was walking back down the hall towards me, she says that she felt something in her spirit tell her to go back to the Chief Inspector once more and tell him that this is an injustice. But, she hesitated because she had only been in this job for five months and wondered if she would be placing her own job in jeopardy. But, she decided to take the risk. In returning to the Chief Inspector's office she said, "This is not right. Mr. Arnold has done nothing wrong and this situation is out of his control. I will not go and tell him that he cannot rebuild his fence. If that is your final message either you have to tell him yourself or get someone else to do it. I cannot in good conscious do it." In so many words, the Chief Inspector replied, "If you feel that strongly about it, go ahead and give him the permit."
As I listened to her recount how this minor miracle unfolded, all I could do was thank the Lord for favor. I told her that as I had stood at the window earlier, I felt a sudden urge to pray for favor. She asked me "who do you pray to?" I responded, "I pray to the Lord Jesus Christ" to which she said "Amen. Well your prayers were answered."
Pursue a Bigger Belief
Why am I recounting this story of a fence permit to you? The Lord settled in my spirit that day that this is a season of favor for those who are chasing after him. I've told our kids this encouraging story and said, "Now is the time to pursue God and pray for favor." I've told close friends this story and advised them to pursue God hard and pray for divine favor. And, I'm encouraging this community of Eusebeians in this season to ardently pursue God now and pray for favor. The Adversary will definitely create chaos and doubt as you pursue. But, this is the season to DESIRE his divine will (over your own willfulness) and expect divine favor as you do so.
I know that you may have much bigger needs than a fence permit. And, I know it can feel risky to be so vulnerable in your expectation of God to meet that need. But, all I can tell you is that the Lord is stirring the waters in a supernatural way right now. And, the Lord is waiting for you both to truly desire that work so that he can relentlessly pour his favor upon your life and your marriage.