I am a compulsive yard-saler.
I’m not even embarrassed to admit it. I live in an area of the country where yard sales and flea markets are full of old treasures and wonderful new deals. Why, if it weren’t for yard sales, I wouldn’t have many of the things that I currently possess. It feels good to walk away knowing that the $1 I just spent bought me a $68 sweater and that the old book I bought for 50 cents can’t even be found on eBay.
With this love of thriftiness, comes another trait: bargaining. I am all about bargaining. If the price tag says $10, you can pretty much guess that I’m going to offer $7 and we’ll settle at $8. A dollar is a dollar, and it doesn’t hurt to ask. I love to bargain! But I have learned through this adventure we call life that there is someone with whom I cannot barter.
I Cannot Barter With God.
God does not run a yard sale. And He isn’t an auctioneer, giving the highest bidder the prized item. We may not realize it, but we all try to barter with God. But that’s not how He works. The day we handed our lives to God we lost the right to decide how they should play out.
Does any of this sound familiar?
“God, I will trust you with my lousy boss. I will be nice to him. But I am doing this because I know you will soon change my circumstances.”
“God, I’m doing what you want and this is what I get? Why me, God? What am I doing wrong? Can’t you just give me a break?”
“God, how about I give you this or that and you’ll finally bring me the man of my dreams”.
“God, I’ve given you everything you have asked of me and you just give me this?!”
You may be faithfully serving God and continually facing opposition or unfulfilled longings. Constant trials. All the while, you may watch some Sunday ‘benchwarmers’ in your church coast on through life on the wings of middle to upper class luxury and suburban security. It’s so easy in times like that to question God. To wonder if perhaps you’re doing something wrong. Or even to think that somehow what you do merits God’s blessings, not His trials. Let me tell you something: God doesn’t sit weighing and calculating, handing out blessings and hardships based on my obedience to His commands or my commitment to His glory.
You see, whatever you are facing, you are facing it because God has sovereignly allowed it in your life. He does this because He knows it is what will bring Him the glory He wants. He may have you in a situation that feels pointless. You may feel like you have been put on the shelf. You may feel like doors keep slamming. Perhaps you’ve sacrificed your plans on the altar for God’s and feel like it’s come to no avail. You might feel like you could be of better use if only (fill in the blank). We are all full of ideas of how God should work in us. And easily upset when it doesn’t happen like we think it should. Can you be ok with not knowing, understanding or agreeing with what God is doing in you?
Isaiah 43:1-3 says:
“But now thus says the Lord, he who created you, O Jacob, he who formed you, O Israel: “Fear not, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by name, you are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior.”
Wow! He is so gracious. You are invaluable to Him! So much so that He refuses to cater to your every whim. How glad am I that I serve a God who does not waiver in His decision making, based on my desires. A God who sees every tear I cry and knows the silent longings of my heart. God giving us what we want, when we want, how we want is often the seemingly worst thing He could ever allow. And He loves us too much to do that to us.
He doesn’t place a price tag on you. And He certainly won’t barter with you about the conditions of your service and life. Why? Because He loves you! He will not relent. His concern for your heart and His knowledge of what is best is way beyond my pay-grade (or the money in this thrifty girl’s pocket). He doesn’t guarantee that just because you love and serve Him that you will have a nice house, great job and a healthy, successful family. He doesn’t promise that if you surrender what He is asking that He will ‘magically’ bless you with something better. He’s not Santa Claus. He is the God of the Universe!
We often secretly believe and even live as if our minor or major sacrifices have suddenly given us the right to call the shots. As if our suffering can be compared to His!
My obedience does not demand God to action. He is already at work. Just perhaps not how I think He should be!
Obedience does not mean God must act how you wish Him to. It is however, a prerequisite for joy in life. Those with the deepest joy are not always those who have what the world has to offer. Or even those who have their own deepest desires. It’s those who realize that in obedience to God, is found the one thing that can satisfy our longing soul: Jesus Christ.
We were not made to understand His ways.
Don’t look at this as a bad thing. Take it as an opportunity to praise a God who cares for the details in your life. Wealth and an easy life are no substitute for the depth of the riches of what you receive through an intimate relationship with God. Sometimes that intimacy can only begin to develop through periods of grieving, pain, and disappointment. Why would we want a God who caters to our every whim? I’m so glad God has such a greater concern for the matters of our heart, than the convenience in which we feel the results are produced.
Oh how deep His love is for you! So deep He sent His son for you. And He will do whatever it takes to draw you to Him. How gracious of Him to allow times of pain in our lives to force our faces to look to Him. Not at Him for answers, but to Him for strength. To behold Him. To finally admit our own inability to do anything on our own and our lack of understanding and knowledge of what is best for us.
He ‘s given us our reward: a relationship with Him: Can that be enough? Can you honestly look at the Lord and say: “I don’t get it. This hurts. But I will obey. I will not try to understand or devise a revision to make my plans work. I will instead let you lead.” Can we even dare to be thankful for these times? Thankful that God cares enough to allow these times to draw us into His love.
Don’t barter with God. He’s already paid the highest price, for your soul.
The bidding is done.
He has won.
And you already have the best deal, ever.
Lindsey Young is a graduate of Liberty University where she received her Bachelors of Science in Religion. She is an avid coffee connoisseur and Etsy antique shop owner. She currently resides in Pennsylvania, but is planning on moving to Florida to work at Word of Life Bible Institute as a Discipleship Coordinator. She also has her own blog over at itreallyisawondrfullife.blogspot.com.