Bargain or not
Do you barter with people? When I visited Nogales, Mexico, the advice I received from others who had visited there before me was that I should never pay full price for what a vendor is asking when I wanted to purchase something. I was to 'barter with them' until I felt a fair price was met. For example, I wanted this blanket marked at however many Pesos and I was supposed to say what I was willing to pay for it. Usually the vendor would meet my request with great resistance and shake his head vigorously that he was opposed to such an offer. Part of the 'bartering' was that I was to walk away as though I were no longer interested. If you have ever done this, you know they follow you asking you offering you some reduced rate, but still not what you desired to pay. If all goes well, you will 'wear them down' to a reasonable price you both can agree upon. In turn, you walk home with the blanket, feeling very good about the 'bargain' you just found. Truth be told, we sometimes do the same thing with God - we approach him with our desires and we have something in mind we will 'do' or 'trade' if he will just agree to meet that desire. God doesn't need us to bargain with him - he needs us to be honest about our need and just as truthful about our desires!
I think we may all be a little guilty of 'bargaining' with God from time to time - some of us use this 'tactic' way too frequently, though. We cannot expect God to 'chase us down' to give into our demands, though. The things we have need of in our lives are God's pleasure to meet for us in some fashion. Now, I grant you, the 'fashion' God chooses may differ from the way we would have chosen to have the need met on occasion, but if we remain open to how God meets our needs, we might just find our needs are met in a fuller and more consistent manner than the way we imagined! When my kids were growing up, money was very tight. I had to rely upon what some call 'hand-me-down' clothes for them on more than one occasion. While it wasn't quite like going to Target or Walmart and buying them brand new, the blessing those clothes provided for my kiddos was astronomical! They were well-dressed, always clean, and they had 'new clothes' to wear that fit well. The even better news was that the bargain find at a garage sale or thrift store, or the 'freebies' I received from friends met every need and kept me on target with my budget! My friends saw a need, reached out and met it as best they could, even blessing my kiddos with new things from time to time!
The needs we have are oftentimes not spoken, though. It is as though we keep them all bundled up inside, afraid if we told God what we needed or desired, he might just 'turn us down'. I am sure we have all felt that way from time to time - as though our need or desire were something God would never 'agree to meet' in our lives. There is no need or desire that God considers insignificant, yet there are different ways he meets each one of them. We have to learn to trust God to meet them in the way he knows to be best for us. Just ask - openly, honestly, and without fear. He isn't going to laugh in your face! He might just show you how magnificently he has prepared to meet that need, but was just waiting for your to ask! Yes, there are times when we ask and we don't 'receive' right then and there, or exactly as we might have imagined we'd receive the answer. When I was younger, I asked God if I could remarry at some point, and I shared honestly with him what I desired in a future mate. He never said 'no' to me, but if you know me, then you know I am still single. Did he fail to answer me, or deny my 'request'? No! He showed me ways to be content and to be a woman of integrity in my singleness. It became quite clear to me that there were things I was preparing to do that I knew nothing of when I was younger that would have been harder to do if I were remarried. I can honestly say I never regretted not remarrying - I am grateful in my singleness and content to allow him to use me as he desires.
Ask God - be direct - don't beat around the bush. He has ways of meeting our needs way beyond our imagining. He delights in hearing our desires and contrary to what you may think, he doesn't always fulfill our desires exactly as we ask, but he has ways of fulfilling them that might just prove to be way more fulfilling in the end. We might think we have to bargain with him, but he reminds us there is no 'bargaining' in this relationship with him - it is open, direct, and free communication. Just a reminder here - he doesn't chase us down to give into our demands. He might just stand there and watch us walk away from our demand. It isn't that he doesn't love us - it is that he loves us too much to give us everything we demand! Just sayin!