“Then the Lord rained upon Sodom and upon Gomorrah brimstone and fire from the Lord out of heaven; and he overthrew those cities, and all the plain, and all the inhabitants of the cities, and that which grew upon the ground. But his wife looked back from behind him, and she became a pillar of salt.” Genesis 19:24-26
Have you ever wondered why Lot’s wife turned around? They were literally fleeing for their lives from death and destruction. This is the only time she is mentioned and I always wondered, why did she care more about her life she was leaving behind, even though it was becoming a pile of ashes? I looked up the definition of brimstone and it literally means sulfur. Looking at the context just a few verses prior, two angels were sent to lead this family out of Sodom and Gomorrah and into safety. Sin was prevalent and people did anything and everything they wanted. It was dirty and wicked. In Genesis 18:16-33, Abraham pleads for God to save the city even if there is just ten righteous people. God promised that he would not destroy it even for ten, but there wasn’t even that. I imagine this family is experiencing great stress as they are running away from the destruction and finding safety. So, why would she turn around?
Recently, Sam and I were faced with a similar circumstance that instead of condemning her, I actually found myself sympathizing with Lot’s wife. Ever since we received our “14 Day Notice of Lease Termination,” Sam and I have asked each other the same question, should we stay or should we go. In the beginning, our resolve was strong, and we received a lot of support. It was obvious to us at the time that we should stay, which compelled us to keep the fight strong. We wanted them to learn from their mistake. Both Mullan Reserve and Thomas C. Orr have received numerous phone calls from people in support of our story. We believe this is why they did not follow through with evicting us.
During this time, I experienced severe hostility at my job. I prayed for God to open a door for another opportunity but haven’t received that yet. Everyday the tension increased and everyday my stomach would churn when I had to go to work. I started paying attention to the strife we were up against, Sams job was taken away, we are facing eviction in our apartment unnecessarily, and I am experiencing an uncomfortable work environment. I started to think, there’s got to be a reason why we have one door close on us after another. I truly started to believe that we were no longer supposed to be in Missoula anymore.
Before we sold our house in Minnesota, I had a dream that we lived in an RV. We didn’t have much but we were happy. I couldn’t shake it. I told Sam, but at the time, he didn’t see it as a reasonable option. I see now that that was a seed, God needed to work on both of our hearts. Sam was not ready to receive the news and I needed to be patient. I was willing to admit I might be wrong. But maybe both of us are right and we didn’t know it yet. Months later, he had a friend who also suggested an RV and others have also made the same suggestion, who were completely unrelated to the other. Now he started paying attention. We prayed for God to lead us, whether that is, indeed, to find an RV or a new apartment. But, Sam was not quite ready to leave Missoula yet.
On September 15, Sam met with the lawyer and we started to really ask this question once again. This is when I started to feel a switch. As I prayed to seek direction, I felt in my spirit one word and that was “flee.” I told this to Sam and he wanted to respect my feelings but he was not at that place yet. He wanted to stay more then he wanted to go but was willing to swallow his pride and leave. This went on for weeks and he just did not have a burning intuition to leave the area while I was firm about wanting to leave. So we prayed and waited on the Lord to bend one of us so we could be united in the decision to stay or go. One day, Sam finally said “I’m ready to leave. I am 100% on board. I see now that it no longer makes sense for us to stay here. There’s no opportunity.” Praise God! After that I felt a release to start downsizing. We didn’t know where we would go, but we knew that God was preparing us to leave at a moments notice.
We looked at RV’s and weighed our options. The answer became more and more clear to us that we had to drastically downsize. God had already been working on my heart and preparing me to let go of more. That was the next step and we had peace about it. That means all of my décor, including sentimental items. It was hard for me to let it go, but in reality, it’s just material things. Truth be told, I had a few breakdowns. It was not easy for me to just give up the things that I worked so hard for. I worked hard to make our living space feel like a home. Overnight, I watched our little home quickly turn into a four wall shell. During this process, I found myself sympathizing with Lot’s wife and began to truly understand why she turned around. I’m sure she had her house the way she wanted, all of her comforts, it was her home. She was leaving everything she owned and cared about behind her. But, because she valued her comforts, it ultimately led to her permanent separation from God. Her life in Sodom in Gomorrah was her idol.
While I was struggling to let things go, I kept telling myself, “Don’t be like Lot’s wife.” It was really hard narrowing things down one by one. I know my relationship with God is much more valuable than my comforts. As hard as it was, I’m glad I obeyed and made these sacrifices. Once the hard part was done, it felt so freeing! I didn’t have all of this stuff weighing me down. Living a minimalistic lifestyle has always been alluring to us, but now we’re actually facing it. We found ourselves asking what this will look like. Where do we go? What do we do? Do we pursue an RV? Where do we find one? How do we afford one? So many questions.
I don’t have all the answers. I can let myself get stressed out and worry about tomorrow. I can let anxiety get the better of me. I can get stressed over things I don’t need to be stressed about. If I do that, I would not be trusting God. Everything will work out in its time. “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness.” Isaiah 41:10
In Luke 18:18-30, the rich young ruler asked Jesus what he should do next and Jesus said to sell all of his possessions and give to the poor and he will have treasure in heaven. The rich young ruler walked away saddened because he could not give up his possessions. This is a hard question to answer, are you willing to give up your comforts for the sake of following Christ? What is God telling you to do?