By Lou Coleman
I promise you I will never do it again! I’ll stop sinning! I’ll do anything you say, Lord! Please Lord! Help me! Get me out of this mess! I tell you the nerve we have trying to bargain with God! Ain’t that ‘bout a pickle! But we do it all the time. We are all guilty. In fact, we are so good at it, and so used to it, that we think it is normal, right, and expected. Tell me, how many times has God come through for you? How many times has He moved mountains in your life? How many times has He caused peace in the storm? How many times has He met your need, done the impossible, and proven Himself to be God for you? But what I really want to know is how many times have you renege on your promise to God after he has delivered you out of your mess? And now you got the nerve to ask Him to deliver you again?
I tell you we ain’t no different they those in the Book of Old. You see Abraham tried to negotiate God’s peace with Sodom, in return for finding a certain number of righteous people in the city; Jacob was willing to devote himself to the Lord in exchange for safety and provision on his long journey; Jephthah bargained with what he assumed would be an animal of his to be sacrificed if the Lord granted him victory over the enemy; and Hannah was willing to give any son the Lord gave her back to Him, if He opened her womb. The truth of the matter is that we have no bargaining position. We are utterly owned by God and we are squatters on His land. Every breath we take is a gift from Him. Every virtue we perform is because of His grace. We must remember that God owes us nothing; we are complete debtors to Him. The good news here however is that in all of these cases, God fulfilled their requests because of His love and His grace.
I want you to know that trouble is often didactic [intended to teach a moral lesson]. Some of the most amazing lessons of your life will come in times of stress and strain. You may not believe this now while you are in your mess, but you will be better because of the trouble you went through! You will be stronger and you will be wiser because of it! Your praise will even be where it needs to be because of it! I tell you, trouble came to make us better. I can testify that by my own experience when I experienced trouble I became a better person because of it. The things I’ve learned in sorrow are the things I’ve learned the best! You see no matter how difficult the circumstances may be, you have to see the hand of God in it.
You know Job made a request to God and then he took a stand in God. Perhaps that is what God is saying to someone today who is big on the request side, but suffering on the stand side. You cannot ask God to do, if you refuse to be. Your convictions must be clear. Your stance must be sure. Your resolve must be resounding. You are not reading this because you wonder if God is going to do it. You have a history with God. You have seen God do too much over the years to even let doubt come out of your mouth. You know God is going to do it. The real question is how long are you willing to wait for God to manifest it into your life? I know it is rough, but wait it out. I know you are pushed to the edge, but wait it out. If you just wait this thing out, God will work it out. The trials and adversities of life are never pleasant, but it is in them that we learn the secrets of dependence, of grace, of hope and of God’s presence. None of us wishes for trials or adversity, but it is through them that God refines the metal of our lives and molds us into His image. Just as metal is placed in a furnace and heated to a white hot state so the dross can be removed, God allows us to enter the furnace of affliction so that He might refine and purify our lives. Rather than complain and be depressed, know there is a blessing tucked away in the midst of the trouble.
“If you will not believe, surely you shall not be established. [Isaiah 7:9]