The Fourth Watch


I’m back to Matthew 14 today. That chapter is a virtual treasure trove of scriptures that apply to my life right now, especially verse 25:  “And in the fourth watch of the night Jesus went unto them, walking on the sea.” The fourth watch, the last one of the night right before daybreak, is when Jesus finally appeared. On this particular occasion the disciples were in the midst of a wind and wave tossed ship, probably afraid and wondering when rescue would come.


While I haven’t been on a storm-tossed sea, I have been wondering when and if rescue would come. A year and ½ ago, we put our house on the market, confident that it would sell right away. Right downtown in the historic district, the house had a history of its own in that it was built as the parsonage for First Baptist Church in the 1920’s. I’ve often thought of how many weddings have taken place right there in the living room and how many people have been counseled in the pastor’s study, our guest bedroom. Sometimes I could almost feel the spirits of those who’d passed through those rooms. But I digress.


Wanting to downsize as we transitioned towards retirement, DH and I went ahead and bought another home, a medium sized ranch style in a hilly, wooded subdivision outside of town. Things went according to plan because within a month, we had a contract, and the buyer was agreeable to our asking price. Alas, she changed her mind as she began to realize the upkeep involved in an older home, and she opted for a more modern residence. No problem…or so we thought.


Over a year has passed since then, and although we’ve had many, many prospective buyers, something always happens to prevent the deal from sealing. One couple backed off when the man realized that he couldn’t get his boat in and out of the small back yard. More than one family has been unable to come up with the money. One woman’s Persian rugs were too large. Others have issues with the small closets and bathrooms. Make no mistake. This is a gorgeous home with lots of charm and character. The wood floors, high ceilings, transoms above the windows, and heavy doors are but a few of the pluses. It’s just that until now nothing has seemed to work out.


Have you ever tried to make two house payments? It’s no “walk in the park,” and these past several months have stretched our resources. Both of us have taken on extra work projects to cover the expenses including taxes and insurance on both homes. I just could not figure out what was taking so long. After all, this wasn’t a decision we had entered into lightly. After much prayer and the “green light” feeling, we moved forward…only to come to a dead stop.


Our fourth watch, the one right before daybreak, is coming to an end.  We’re working out the details now, and although we’re not completely happy with the contract, we can live with it. With the housing market like it is, we’re hesitant to wait any longer, especially since there are four houses for sale on our small block. I could write more the pros and cons of selling for less than we are asking, but there’s no point in that. The buyers are going to rent for six months until the money that they have for a down payment is available without a penalty. This isn’t a “rent with an option to buy” but rather a rent until buying one.


The long night is over, and we’ve run the gamut of emotions including anxiety, frustration, excitement, disappointment, frustration, bewilderment, and confusion (why isn’t something happening???). We’ve learned lessons in patience, faith, endurance, frugality, and humility. We hope this is the fourth watch and that rescue is at hand.


Author: jayne bowers

*married with children, stepchildren, grandchildren, in-laws, ex-laws, and a host of other family members and fabulous friends *semi-retired psychology instructor at two community colleges *writer

3 thoughts on “The Fourth Watch”

  1. “While I haven’t been on a storm-tossed sea, I have been wondering when and if rescue would come. A year and ½ ago, we put our house on the market, confident that it would sell right away.”

    It turns out that the woman we purchased our house from had lost her job. Unfortunately for her, she had bought the house on the upswing of the real estate market and was upset that she only made $2,000 on it. Which is why she was not inclined to clean after herself.

    I could only imagine how bad it is for homes which people have foreclosed on.

  2. I know you are happy that the “fourth watch” is almost over, it will be a financial improvement for sure. I was a little sad thinking of that wonderful house finally being inhabited by someone else. I love that house, by the same token, the new people can make some wonderful memories there and after all we all have our memories of parties, book club, showers, visits etc. So WooHoo, I am happy for you!!!

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