“So humble yourselves under the mighty power of God, and at the right time he will lift you up in honor. 7 Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” – 1 Peter 5:6-7.
Life is negotiation. Life is all about our interactions with others—family, friends, colleagues, and most significantly, God. We tend to do our most negotiating when we face setbacks or difficulties in our life.
Life is challenging for everyone. We should not compare our lives to others because everyone has different circumstances. What we all have in common is we will experience disappointments. Maybe it is the end of a once-promising relationship. The loss of an opportunity that has thrown a monkey wrench in your hopes for the future. The disappointments that are the ones that are the hardest to deal with those are the ones you prayed about but God gave you a different answer than the one you wanted. You feel a little like David did in Psalm 73: 13-14: “Did I keep my heart pure for nothing? Did I keep myself innocent for no reason? I get nothing but trouble all day long; every morning brings me pain.” In other words, you have tried to do things right and obedient, but things aren’t working out from your perspective.
Disappointment also motivates us to figure out what mistakes or wrong moves we made and figure out the right moves. If we do that then God will give us what we desire. It’s kind of making unspoken deals with God by trying to decipher the right formulas: the secret recipe for finding a spouse; the way to seize the opportunity in front of us, etc. The right formula will result in the right ending. We even word our prayers in a way that we hope will persuade God to resolve a particular circumstance. Most of us tried this as kids. “If I eat half my brussel sprouts, I can have a bowl of ice cream, right?” Parents were too smart for that and demanded we eat everything on our plate if we wanted dessert. But such deals cannot be made with God because He is God and sees what we cannot see. Deuteronomy 29:29 says: “The Lord our God has secrets known to no one. We are not accountable for them, but we and our children are accountable forever for all that he has revealed to us, so that we may obey all the terms of these instructions.” We need to learn to trust God rather than negotiate with Him. Often the reasons why things happen are only known to Him. If I think I can somehow negotiate with God to manipulate Him into doing things my way by following a certain set of rules, I am in for some disappointment.
We tend to look at prayer as a way of asking things from God. However, when prayer is just asking we often grow frustrated when the answers are not immediately forthcoming or not according to our expectations. God often uses the process of prayer to bring us around to His way of thinking; to understand His mind and perspective on things. In prayer then, God often changes us to see what He sees and then asks for what He wants.
- Have you ever negotiated with God? How did it work out?
- What can we do this week to trust God enough to accept His answers to our prayers?