During my junior year at Wheaton College, my roommates and I lived in the apartment complex at College Avenue. Whereas many of our fellow juniors lived in far-away Terrace Apartments, Rachel, Sharon, Ashley, and I considered ourselves lucky because we were just minutes away from the center of campus and, most importantly, the dining hall.
The College Avenue apartments were also right next to the track. We used to put on our sweats, rewind our cassette tapes so they’d be ready for the Sony Walkman, head out the door, and be running or walking around the track within seconds. It was great to have it so accessible. One night, I came back from jogging. In my happy state I prayed, “Thanks, Lord, for having us live so close to the track. I love it.” The Lord spoke clearly and immediately to my heart, “I knew you’d like it.” It was one of those vivid defining moments, when I was reminded of the extent of His love and of how well He knew me.
A little over five years ago, we were packing up in the US and getting ready to move to Spain, and we were facing one unknown after another: What kind of apartment would we get? In what schools would the kids end up? Would we like our language classes? How about community, even – in the craziness of settling in to life in Spain, would we even make any new friends?
A few months after we’d moved here, we were pretty settled even though we were still adjusting to the Spanish culture. I looked back and saw that the Lord had placed us exactly where He wanted us and had given us exactly what we needed, and even amazing things we didn’t even know we wanted. He gave us a four-bedroom apartment that at first looked dirty and horrible but ended up being perfect, He put us right by a beautiful river we didn’t even know existed, He enabled the kids to get into the elementary school just two minutes away, and He gave us a wonderful community of friends from church and from the group of parents at school. When I stopped to thank the Lord for each of these things, I felt like He was saying over and over again, “I knew you’d like it,” “I knew you guys would like it.”
What an amazing God we serve – He loves us and knows each of us so well. He gives good gifts. It reminds me of the verse, “What is man that you are mindful of him?” (Psalm 8:4) As the Chinese grandma whom we met at church said repeatedly (she didn’t know any other Spanish or English): “Aleluia!”