“I prayed for this boy, and since the Lord gave me I asked him for, I now give the boy to the Lord. For as long as he lives, he is given to the Lord” (1 Samuel vv27-28)
What promises have you made to God during your life’s most difficult situations?
Like so many others who are faced with circumstances that seem indomitable I have tried bargaining with God. We bargain for ourselves, for a job, for another chance, for someone to take away our loneliness.
When we petition God for our heart’s desires we know we are begging. We know we are asking for a favor. Even if we promise to sacrifice something or to try harder, we know that God is giving us something we probably do not have the right to ask for.
When God “grants” our prayers we praise him but when he seems to ignore our repeated and reverent prayers we curse him. We wonder why God has abandoned us. The fact, however, is that he never did abandon us. God has something better planned for our lives and he will eventually reveal his plan to us in his own time. God wants to give us better things than we have asked for, the best things for us!
This does not mean that we will never know suffering or pain. It is an unrealistic expectation that we should go through life with no serious illnesses, traumatic divorce, or troubled children. Remember that God didn’t deliver his own totally sinless and obedient Son from torture and death, he watched him get strung up between two thieves, why then should he spare you from life’s challenges. It is by facing the consequences of our own actions that we grow and become the person that God created us to be.
What do these promises indicate about your perception of God, or about the state of your relationship with Him, or about the priorities that you know should come first in your life?
In making a bargain with God we tend to view him as someone who dispenses favors. God is not an ATM machine who will reward us when we use the correct password.
Instead we should be living our lives according to His will all along. The blessings we receive are through God's grace, because He loves us, not because we persuaded Him into by promising to do those things we should have been doing all along.
What works the hardest against your heartfelt desire for your children to be used by God in whatever way He chooses?
I would suppose that my behavior and my poor example would be the biggest impediment in my desire for my children to be used by God.
They say that the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree and if this is true my kids need to be afraid, very afraid.
I lived my life throwing myself at every bad choice that ever came my way. There were times where not only were the guard rails down and the lights were flashing but the train whistle was wailing “Get off the Track!” I would still grasp on to the underside of the train, holding on for dear life, while pretending that I could right the situation if I just tried hard enough. I suppose one could say that takes a certain amount of hubris or a large helping of insanity.
Despite my worst efforts my sons seem to be doing better than I did. Yes they have made mistakes but I pray that they learn from mine.