Many choose homelessness, but I didn’t. And, as I found out later, neither does God. In January of 2009, I had to move all my existence into storage. I had just gone through an emotionally-shell-shocking death-of-a-vision experience. The ministry that we had pioneered in Washington, D.C. for the past three and a half years had ended in a screeching train wreck. Many authors write books on their great successes, answered prayers and miracles. I am beginning this one with a confession of utter failure. We wrecked big-time. Kimberlee and I packed up the kids and headed out of town to seek the Lord, and when I say, “out of town,” I mean “out of town.” We ended up at the furthest American point away from D.C. — Kona, Hawaii. 2 Still, as we traveled in that season, God reconfirmed His call on our lives to continue to pray for America in Washington, D.C. We were gripped by this call. Somehow we simply had to get back to our nation’s capital. A call is different than some lofty vision. We can dream up a lot of great things we might do for the Lord, but that’s completely different then when He calls you. A call is holy and from the Lord. And if you’ve made Jesus Lord of your life, you have no choice but to obey His call. So after only three weeks in Kona, we headed back to D.C. God had called us to be intercessors for America from there, and we simply had to obey. But can you imagine how disheartening it was to be flying back to a city that was supposed to be home for us, when we no longer had a home there? All of our belongings were in storage, and we didn’t have enough monthly income to pass any rent requirements, even for the smallest places. Nobody would rent to us. Here I was, with a wife and two young boys in tow (and a third child on the way), and all I could offer them was a storage unit. While I should have been filled with excitement to be returning to D.C., the feelings of defeat that assailed me were almost overwhelming. What were we doing flying back “home,” when we didn’t actually have a home? It was an Abrahamic moment. “This Land is your inheritance, BUT you’ll be living in a tent.” In our case, the only tent we had was a minivan. A wonderful friend who had kept our minivan while we were gone picked us up at Dulles Airport. We drove into D.C. and dropped him off where he needed to go, and then we didn’t know what to do next. I decided to drive to Capitol Hill. There I found a place to park and began to wait on the Lord in prayer. The two boys were passed out sleeping in their car seats after the red-eye flight from Kona, and Kimberlee, pregnant with our third, was sleeping in the passenger seat. What were we to do? For a while, I sat at the steering wheel staring out the windows with a glaze over my eyes. The half-million to million-dollar townhouses towered around me like the walls of Jericho, and there I was homeless. I felt confident that we were in the city where we were supposed to live, but the driving question was: “Where are we going to sleep tonight?” I was preparing my heart to spend the night in the van. I pulled out my Bible and began to read out loud, quietly enough not to disturb Kimberlee and the boys, and as I did, revelation began to pour into my soul. God also had a place where He desired to dwell. For generations He had been homeless, as He waited for someone to bring the Ark of His Presence into the city of Jerusalem. And now, He was again homeless — billions of times over — as He longed to dwell in the hearts of men and women everywhere. As I pondered all of this, there was an immediate heart connect, a heart connect that can only be experienced by two who have shared a similar pain. Suddenly, a quietness filled my soul. Knowing that God knew my situation soothed my anxiety. He could relate with me. At the same time, mixed with this quietness of soul came a strange ache. It was an ache for God to be welcomed into the very heart of my nation with the same degree of welcome King David gave Him in Jerusalem. I had often asked God to give me His heart. That day He had given me His peace, but it had come with a bit of His brokenheartedness. I dare you, double-dog dare you, to try homelessness for even one day. I’m talking about true homelessness, without any other options, not just moving out of your house for a night. Now I know that very few of you will take me up on that dare, actually giving everything away and putting yourself in those shoes, but try to stretch your heart into that place and imagine what it would be like. Some of you may have actually been in those shoes before. Let’s all try to get our hearts into that place for a moment here. Now, read Psalms 132 out loud. I believe that the revelation of it will change your perspective on life. From that day forward, I deeply wanted to be a home for Jesus, and I wanted to spur my nation to become a resting place for Him as well. I waited and prayed, and the hours passed. Then, suddenly the silence was broken by a phone call. It was from Dick Simmons, a spiritual father, mentor and general of intercession who lived on Capitol Hill. He was inviting us to stay with him and his wife Barbara. Dick and Barbara lived in a condo directly behind the Supreme Court, with a straight line of sight to the Capitol Building, and they had some vacant rooms. After eight hours of sitting in our van on the street, we suddenly had a place to stay. But those eight hours had been important, for they shifted my focus in life. I was now fixated on finding a resting place for the Lord.
1 “Lord, remember David
And all his afflictions;
2 How he swore to the Lord,
And vowed to the Mighty One of Jacob:
3 “Surely I will not go into the chamber of my house,
Or go up to the comfort of my bed;
4 I will not give sleep to my eyes
Or slumber to my eyelids,
5 Until I find a place for the Lord,
A dwelling place for the Mighty One of Jacob.”
6 Behold, we heard of it in Ephrathah;
We found it in the fields of the woods.
7 Let us go into His tabernacle;
Let us worship at His footstool.
8 Arise, O Lord, to Your resting place,
You and the ark of Your strength.
9 Let Your priests be clothed with righteousness,
And let Your saints shout for joy.
10 For Your servant David’s sake,
Do not turn away the face of Your Anointed.
11 The Lord has sworn in truth to David;
He will not turn from it:
“I will set upon your throne the fruit of your body.
12 If your sons will keep My covenant
And My testimony which I shall teach them,
Their sons also shall sit upon your throne forevermore.”
13 For the Lord has chosen Zion;
He has desired it for His dwelling place:
14 “This is My resting place forever;
Here I will dwell, for I have desired it.”
Psalm 132:1-14, NKJV