Negotiating with God….
Every few days we have meetings with my family to discuss challenges, bad attitudes, weekend plans, baseball games, etc. Much of the time we talk about the reasons we did or said certain “bad” things, and at other times the boys try to talk me into something they really want. Their arguments can become quite convincing at times. At 8, 10 and 11 they are adroit at bargaining, or as they put all their little skills of manipulation into showing how important it is that I see things their way, etc. they put on an act that would win an academy award.
As always, the boys remind me how similar their struggles and antics are when it comes to the celestial struggles any Christian has. All of us in the body of Jesus Christ have dreams, burdens, fears and struggles with which to contend. As I progress in life, and perhaps more profoundly lately, I find that I am not afraid of dying——I am secure in my Savior. No, I am more afraid of the notion that I must continue living as I have had to for the past few years.
I think that if you live long enough you will probably experience similar sentiments. You love your family, your work, your friends; your life has been full and rewarding, but the present obstacles and trials have pushed you to the edge—-and sometimes you see no way to pull back from the abyss that you are staring down at. These are the times we must, of course, surrender to God and call out, as David did: “Save me, O God, for the waters have come up to my neck. I sink in the miry depths, where there is no foothold. I have come into the deep waters; the floods engulf me. I am worn out calling for help; my throat is parched. My eyes fail, looking for my God.” (Psalm 69:1-3) Have you been there yet?
In truth I do surrender my struggles to God (all the time), but conditionally (most of the time). What about you? When you’re at the end of your rope do you give up all your troubles to Him, or are you still holding onto an imagination of how you expect Him to work things out?
It’s easy for me to give control to someone else provided he/she will do things like I want, or the end result will be what I have hoped for. But I don’t give control over parts of my business, ministry, family or personal life to someone that does things contrary to how I want it done—even if his/her way ends up being a better way!
But in my walk with Him, I have only find that supreme peace only comes when I truly give it all up Him. That perfect peace comes from totally giving up with no thought of the “what ifs” that often plague me during the night. I am tempted to muse: “What if He is late…..what if He chooses to let me lose this thing that I want hold on to….what if His plans are inconsistent with mine….what if He makes a fool out of me….?”
Have I already formed in my mind the method, time and manner in which He will rescue me or help give me hope? If I have, then I have not surrendered at all—-I am “negotiating with God”. I am tempted to worry that perhaps He is not listening or that He is planning on harming me. And that thinking comes from a “works-righteousness” mindset. It’s as if I am treating God as my equal, or an earthly father, where I attempt to scheme and play on His emotions so that He will come to my rescue and perform some sort of incredible miracle that will cause others to pause and stand in awe—-awe of me, not Him.
When I negotiate I am lowering God to the absurd level of a man. He is not a man; He is not in need of negotiating with me or even associating with me—-let alone rescuing me. He is God—the only being totally pure and holy…..epitome of love. So it comes to this every time I have a hard time letting go: Do I believe Him and do I trust in His goodness?