Remember how I told you in my last post that I have quite a bit of unfinished writings floating in my documents folder? Well, this is one of those that I wrote in the fall of 2013 after a lot of wrestling with God. The boys and I had a few rounds of sickness that landed us in the ER. After pointing fingers at God, He taught me the following lesson. Little did I know that this would be preparation; just the tip of the iceberg on this lesson, and God would lead me back to this writing in a beautiful way. I’m excited to share that story in one of my following posts.
“If you are real, then send this letter back beneath my pillow,” I scribbled on a neon pink post-it. Grabbing it tightly, I ventured out into the wind which blew vigorously through my blonde hair. Rule-abiding ran thick through my bones and I started to hesitate in executing this plan. But then I took a deep breath, and with hope welling up inside, I let go. In awe, I watched that post-it soar with the wind and pirouette aimlessly down my street. With fervor, I prayed, “God, when I wake in the morning, please, oh pretty please, put that post-it under my pillow. Then I’ll believe in you with all my heart, and know you’re real.”
There, in that moment, I gave God my first test...If you do this, this little thing I ask, then I’ll believe in you.
Well, morning came. My heart sank as I lifted the pillow to see that there was no neon pink hiding there. I even checked under my other pillow to be sure God hadn’t confused the memo. I couldn’t understand why He didn’t follow through with His side of the deal. It seemed perfectly logical to me.
As I’ve thought back to this childhood memory, I’ve chuckled to myself thinking what a silly girl I was to test God in this way. But…it hit me recently that I still do this with God. I find myself continuing to bargain with Him; throwing “post-its” in the air and expecting God to tuck them neatly beneath my pillow. I sometimes try to put Him into a box or make one-way deals that I think would make perfect sense. Otherwise, I contemplate; maybe I shouldn’t trust Him anymore. Maybe He’s not even real.
I bet you might be able to relate. Have you ever played a bargaining game with God? God, IF you do this…
IF you save my daughter from her drug habit, IF you cure my cancer, IF you remove the thorn, IF you keep my family safe, IF you get me this job, IF you save my marriage, IF the answer is yes, IF you keep my life comfortable, IF you take the pain away, IF you bring me a spouse…
Then you are worthy of my trust, my belief, and my praise?
Because I was handed such a devastating loss, I have struggled a lot with bargaining; even at times, feelings of entitlement. I’ve had many “why are you allowing more pain?” and “how could you do this to me?” moments with God. I’ve found myself both angry and confused with God not following through on my one-way bargains.
Through this wrestling in prayer, I’ve come back to the truth that, even as much as I try, I will never be able to wrap a finite mind around an infinite God. God is not bounded…not by the way we feel or think, not by our hopeless situations, and certainly not by “if and then” bargains. He just IS.
These tough moments have led me to this pivotal point in my faith….
IF you allow my life to be hard, IF you don’t answer any of my prayers, IF you allow me to get sick, IF life is a constant struggle, THEN….
THEN, You are still worthy. Worthy of it all: my trust, my belief, my praise. Because You are I AM.
I can assure you that although I wholeheartedly believe this, at times, it can be hard to put it into practice. I think it’s because I forget to remember that there is a bigger plan at work. In those moments I find myself desiring to be God and for Him to fit into my mold. But I’m not God. And He’s certainly not my genie in a bottle. I don’t get to make up what He should do and He reacts to me.
He is the almighty God…so He chooses what He wants to do and we can choose how we react to Him. With His help, I’m learning how to drop to my knees and praise Him through the tears. I’m learning not to bargain, but instead to trust. And I’m learning that, despite what my circumstances are, He is good.