God’s Heart for the Land

by Thea Loughery

A few weeks ago Rochelle Holben, the Elijah House director, called and asked a question that took me completely by surprise. 

“We have the possibility of repurchasing the land. What do you think?”

I couldn’t believe it. 

It’d never occurred to me that one day we might be able to get back the original Elijah House land—the land where I’d interned and heard God’s voice again and again. The land I’d fallen in love with, because He loved it. 

When Rochelle asked what I thought, I started crying.

Land, Purpose, and God’s Heart

It might sound odd—or a little unconventional, at least—but I’ve slowly come to understand how much God loves land

I don’t think He sees it simply as a tool, where humans can live, build houses, and plant their crops. There is something about the land itself that impacts His heart. 

He sees it in all its history—the pain that’s soaked down into the soil, all the joy, all the grief, all the healing—and He also sees His purpose for the land. He has purpose even for places.

Years ago after my late husband and I were born again, the Holy Spirit spoke to my husband about consecrating our property to Him—10 acres in rural Montana. He also told Dan why: because He wanted to bring healing and restoration to the Body of Christ there. 

So we walked the perimeter and dedicated the land to the Lord for that purpose. Following its dedication, the land hosted multiple teen retreats, prayer sessions, etc. 

When Dan died, I wondered what God wanted me to do. “Should I sell and move?” I asked.

But the Lord clearly told me, “I haven’t changed My PURPOSE for this land.” 

So I didn’t sell. 

Just as the purpose for my land didn’t change, even though my circumstances did, I feel a deep conviction that the Lord’s purpose for the original Elijah House land in Post Falls has not changed either. 

God was miraculously involved in its original purchase, which is a story John Sandford writes about in his books. 

I am convinced the Lord is involved in its second purchase too.

What Does the Bible Say About Land?

When Rochelle told me about the tentative plan to repurchase the land, I began to remember visions, spiritual experiences, and words from the Lord I hadn’t thought of in a while. Strange things, different things. All of them involving the land.

During my internship, residency, and eventual employment at Elijah House back in the 1990s and early 2000s, sometimes the Lord would have me go to a specific spot on the hill overlooking the entire property and just worship on (and over) the land. Sometimes He asked me to dance. 

I’m not one of those people who gladly leap into “weird spiritual stuff”! But I tried to do what He told me, and as a result, it was like He gave me a love for that place, for the land itself. I began to realize His heart for it.

One day while I was praying, He had me kneel down and put my hands in the soil. Not just on the soil, but actually in it. As I did, I unexpectedly began to feel tremendous grief, and I realized I was feeling what the land was feeling. 

As I mourned for whatever had happened there, I sensed the Lord was using me to help lift the grief off the land. He wanted to bring healing to the soil and restore it to peace.

As odd as that concept might sound, we can see God’s heart for soil and earth in different ways in Scripture. Here are just two examples:

Then the Lord became passionate about this land, and had pity on his people. (Joel 2:18 CEB) 

The Lord works wonders

and does great things.

So tell the soil to celebrate

and wild animals

to stop being afraid.

Grasslands are green again;

fruit trees and fig trees

are loaded with fruit. (Joel 2:20–22 CEV)

Why THIS land? How is it possible this particular land in Post Falls is so precious to God?

I think it’s because of the many victories that were won there. Thousands of people received ministry there, and the blood of Jesus covered it all. It’s like the land is holy because of God’s precious, mighty acts and what Jesus did on the cross. 

Many, many people have walked and prayed on that land—the land knows the Presence in a special way.

Beauty for Ashes

The last vision I had on the land was about healing. Of course it was. 

I was praying on the large rock above the family cabin, and in the vision I saw ashes falling. They filled the sky like snow, but instead of light and brightness, the sky was dark. So very black. 

The Lord gave me a sense of how heaven mourned for what the land was going through. 

But the mourning was not the end. 

As the ashes landed on the ground, they became diamonds, and the diamonds sunk into the land as seed. I knew the Lord was saying that Elijah House needed to steward the land and bring healing and beauty to it. 

God has a future and a hope for this place (Jer. 29:11). “Weeping may stay for the night, but rejoicing comes in the morning” (Ps. 30:5 NIV). He’s going to take the land’s sorrow and turn it into something beautiful and fruitful. There will be joy instead of weeping—and Elijah House will be there to see it! 


***To read more about this exciting move back home and how you can partner with us, check out this page here! ***

By Rochelle Holben 6 comment


comments (6)

  • Dana Hanson

    Thank you all, we just love the Sandfords, we met John and Paula several times in Minnesota at Strawberry lake i purchased all the cassette tapes and books they had (you can tell how long ago this was) I gave the books and tapes away to bless others at that time.

    Several years ago the Lord put on my heart to apply for a art grant and to name it “Healing the Land” it was all on the Love of GOD for His red nation children, i painted dreams and visions HE Gave me, this year I am going to apply for grant II titled “Healing the Land 2” or maybe it should say “too .” We are rebranding our web site but soon the paintings and write-ups will be posted. www.ipaint4Himstudios.com

    I will continue to purchase your books and cds… we believe in you and the ministry HE has given you all. Blessings and Merry Blessed Christmas

    if ever you need a Spirit filled artist I would love to come and visit. and paint you a prophetic painting.
    Dana Hanson


    This is so awesome to hear what God is doing.

  • Lisa Beavers

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful prophetic word…I will pray

  • Patricia Moulton

    Sounds like redigging wells like Isaac and tied to 2 Chronicles 7v14 for our nation. His voice created the land and it is old and His for usA.

  • “JoY” Lynn Severinse Bedford

    Elijah House has been an inspiration to me on countless occasions when my life was extremely difficult. You serve so many believers World wide with dignity and humility. Buying the property sound like an amazing way to touch lives and the Kingdom in a very personal one on one way. My prayers will be with you as you cross this new threshold. God wants us all to step through the new threshold before us. I’m so glad you are choosing to do so which gives me the courage to step through mine. God bless you and keep you always. Joylynn

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