This blog is a little different than the others. It’s not one of those “rolling in laughter” ones, but it definitely has a point, and fits into the category of “You Didn’t Do That, Did You.”
My guess is that most of you can recall a time in your life when you bargained with God. I would venture to say it didn’t turn out very well. In fact, for me I don’t think I have ever come out on top when I tried to bargain with God.
If you read my “about” page, you will know that I was saved in college. Within a year, God had clearly called me into ministry. I did like I was told by others in ministry (not always the best advice). They told me to start out supplying in pulpits, then become a youth minister, and then become a Pastor. That was not what God had in mind for me. I did spend a few years supplying pulpits.
Several years later, through a series of events in my church, God was clearing telling me He wanted me to go to Seminary. I was more than willing to do so, as I do believe in obeying when God directs you to do something.
However—here is the rest of the story.
At that stage in life I was married, and had a one year old, three year old, and five year old, and we planned to have a fourth child within the year; and I had a “decent” job that paid reasonably good. But, being a “responsible” parent, I did not think I could afford to go to seminary, and provide for my family on the income I had.
So I put in my request to God. Actually it was me trying to bargain with God. I TOLD him that I would go to seminary IF he provided me with a new job that paid TWICE what I was earning. I thought at the time, that was a “reasonable” demand.
It was in the late spring, and I figured I would start seminary with the fall semester. I figured that would give adequate time for God to provide a job that paid twice what I was making. I proceeded to look for jobs, the normal way, with no luck. As the deadline was approaching that I would need to enroll, I still had no idea what job would be instore for me. I was getting frustrated, as I knew God wanted me to go to seminary, which I was agreeing to do, only on my terms. NOT a good way to approach things.
Finally, it was the Friday before class was to start, and I had a “heart to heart” talk with God. It was clear to me that I needed to TRUST God that he would supply my needs, not my wants, and go to seminary now. So that is what I did. I informed my boss (who knew I was thinking about seminary) that, that day would be my last, as I was starting seminary on Monday.
Since I had been waiting for God to provide my idea of a “perfect” job, before I made a commitment, I had not saved any money back. Not a responsible thing to do. I know, but that’s what I did. Monday morning I drove the 50 miles to seminary, finished enrolling, somehow was able to buy the books with no money, and started class.
Approximately two weeks passed as I went the 100 mile round trip each day to class, still wondering what job I would find. I had applied multiple places, but had heard nothing from any of them.
So finally I was virtually out of funds. I went to seminary that day, with not enough gas in the tank to make the round trip back home. I can remember praying in between classes each hour, asking God if this was going to be my last day in seminary. There was no bargaining this time—just me asking God how I was going to be able to continue, if that is what he wanted me to do. I was truly at the end of my “human” rope. The only thing left to do was trust God that He would supply.
Just before my last class of the day, I heard the Public Address announcement telling me I needed to call home. I found a phone (before cell phones) and made the call. My wife informed me that I had a job interview, and that I would have just enough time to get there, if I left immediately after my last class. I was so excited.
After class I hopped into the car and started out another 50 miles, but not in the direction of home. Then I looked down at my gas gauge, and it said “empty.” As a side note, my gas gauge always worked perfectly, so if it said empty, it was truly right on empty. There was no time to go back and ask someone for some money for gas, so I did what I “should” do when I have a need—I prayed that God would stretch the gas out to allow me to get to that interview.
As I drove, the gas gauge literally started rising off of empty. I do believe in miracles, and I was seeing one right then. I made it to the job interview in time, and before it was over, I was offered a job that would be full time, and at a time that I would be able to go to seminary full time. God does provide.
But I still had another 35 miles to go to get home. Looked at my gas gauge and sure enough there was enough gas to make it. So by the time I got home, I had traveled a total of 75 miles on an “empty” gas tank.
When I arrived home, my wife told me that our church had brought a bag of groceries to us that would tide us over a couple weeks and enough cash to fill my gas tank. My first pay check would be in two weeks.
Isn’t God amazing? And oh—by the way, the job I got, paid me exactly TWICE what I had been making.
The point of my story—NEVER bargain with God—you will not win. However, trust God, He WILL supply your needs, and if He asks you to do something, OBEY without strings. You will not regret it.