“And Jephthah made a vow to the Lord. He said, “If you give me victory over the Ammonites, I will give to the Lord whatever comes out of my house to meet me when I return in triumph. I will sacrifice it as a burnt offering.”
–Judges 11:30-31 (NLT)
Recently, I’ve become very interested in a popular TV show that first began airing in 1963. It’s called “Let’s Make a Deal”. You may have seen it on TV in the 1970’s or 1980’s, and the show was recently brought back in 2009 with celebrity host Wayne Brady. It’s been airing on CBS to this day, and interest in the show has only grown stronger.
For those unfamiliar, the main focus of this show is on the deals that are made between the host and the contestants. Several people are selected from the audience and brought on stage. The host asks each person to pick out a prize to take home with them. Of course, the prizes are hidden in envelopes or boxes. Larger prizes have been stashed behind numbered curtains or doors. Each contestant must decide which hidden prize would be most valuable.
It’s pretty exciting to watch and learn whether the prize each person happened to pick out was worth the most money. Does curtain number 1 hide a brand-new car, or a simple iPad Mini? Is Envelope number 3 full of thousand-dollar bills, or a handful of ones?
The “Let’s Make a Deal” show is fun because we get to see how people react when risks and rewards are involved. Sadly, though, all of us have tried to make deals with God when going through a difficult time. If we are not careful, we will only see prayer as a means to an end, or a way to get what we want. So let’s walk through a hypothetical situation that can tempt us to make a deal with God.
Suppose you have a loved one who is terminally ill. When you pray, you might be tempted to say something like this: “God, if you heal Uncle Fred, I will serve you for the rest of my life.”
The problem here is that God is not a magical genie who bows to our every whim. But neither is He a cruel dictator, Rather, He is the Master of the universe who came down in the form of His son, calling us to love and trust Him.
Think about it this way. Over time, you develop a deep love for someone who has shown love to you. If you’re married, stop and think about the person you fell in love with. After spending time with them, you saw how much they cared, and as you opened up to them you began to feel the same way.
It is much the same way with God. The Bible shows us how Christ loved us, and came down to suffer heartache and sorrow for you. He died and rose again so that you could become one of His children. Furthermore, He wants to be a faithful friend, who will never leave or forsake you.
Instead of making deals with God, we can rest in His love if we try to gain some understanding of how deep His love really is. He loved us before we were born, and He proved this by His death. While our disobedience to Him has brought pain and suffering into the world, we can see God’s sacrificial love in the person of Christ if we ask God to open our eyes.
So while this may not be entirely new to you, I am asking you to think about God’s love in a new way. Instead of trying to make a deal with Him, try this experiment. If you don’t know Christ, ask God to make himself known to you personally. Then, just as you would trust a good friend when asking for their advice, seek Him in every situation. You don’t have to fear God’s will, for He can see the road ahead when we can’t, and He only wants our best.
When God loves you this much, why keep trying to make deals with Him, when He has already made a promise and sent His son to die for you? Instead of treating God like a magician or bargaining with Him, I challenge you to get to know God as a personal friend. When you come to trust in God and give all your concerns to Him, our Father will always respond to your prayers. He may have to teach you a lesson sometimes, but He always teaches you in love.
So, I hope you will decide to draw closer to God today, for Jesus opened the curtain of His Father’s love to you.
Thank you for reading this, and may the Lord give you a wonderful week! We are trying to reach people who are hurting, so if God lays it on your heart, please consider becoming a partner with us. If you would like to make a donation, please visit www.hcmachaplains.org and click on the Donate Now link. You can also send donations by mail to HCMA (Healthcare Chaplains Ministry Association). Our ID number is 560. The address is 101 S Kraemer BLVD, Suite 123A, Placentia, CA 92870. Finally, you’re always welcome to join our Monday night Bible study or Tuesday night prayer meeting. Both are conducted by conference call, and they take place at 5:30 PM Arizona time. Our conference number is 712-775-7031, and our ID is 607518748. We hope to talk with you soon!
If you have questions, comments or prayer requests for Timothy or Stephanie Burdick, please call 507-369-6861.