While on vacation last month, I saw the new version of the classic game show, “Let’s Make a Deal.” What a great show…you could deal for a donkey, a gigantic candy bar, or a brand new car. The suspense of not knowing what you’ll win, the challenge of trying to manipulate the game, the freedom and fear of not being in control, and the uncertainty of what the other person will do are enticing emotions drawing us into this bargaining game.
It’s common for people concerned about someone with a life-controlling problem(addiction) or health issue to try to strike bargains with themselves, with the person, with others, and with God. We might promise ourselves that we will be better. We will say the right thing next time. We will make things right. We will restrain from something enjoyable…or harmful. All these things in exchange for something we desire from others or ourselves.
We might set up deals with the loved one to reward them for refraining from their problem behavior. Or we might bargain with God and try to make a deal with Him. A promise to give to the church, or do some good deeds, or give up gossiping or a sexual sin, if only He will fix our loved ones’ problems.
If you are in this deal making stage, you need to understand that help for a friend or loved one doesn’t depend on your performance. God has a specific plan for that person’s life and their change process is up to God. God may want to use us in the person’s life and work through us, but we are in no position, have no leverage, to bargain with God. What do we really have to offer in a trade?
Today, accept your powerlessness to change another person. Don’t try bargaining with God as if He is on another team; learn to actually join God’s team and let Him be your captain, and then follow His instruction. Click here to share your perspective about bargaining with God.
Dear Father God, all my efforts have failed. No matter what I do, I realize now that I can’t fix my loved one’s problems. But I thank You that You can. Your grace is enough. Help me to let go and trust You. Help me understand how You want to use me to grow me and help me let the changing of my loved one up to You. I pray this and all prayers in the name of the One who can fix all things, Jesus Christ; and all God’s children say – AMEN!
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.
2 Corinthians 12:9