Jul 17

Are you negotiating with God?

Don’t let this adorable, seemingly innocent smile fool you… she’s a negotiator.  Consider our recent conversation.

ABBY: You have any stuffed animals dat were mommy’s when she was a widdle girl?
ME: I don’t think so. I think I gave them all to her already.
ABBY: Can you just check?
ME: Sure, I can do that.
ABBY: An’ if you find any, can you give ’em to me?
ME: OK, I’ll do that.
ABBY: Good, ’cause Mommy said we no can buy any more stuffed animals.

Uh-oh. Scammed by a preschooler.

I don’t think Abby’s negotiating skills are all that unusual as I believe most children are negotiators–wrangling to get what they want, how and when they want it. By the teenage years the art seems to be perfected. (I recall our middle daughter insisting that because she was old enough to have donated blood, she was old enough to do whatever else she wanted!)

But for many of us, negotiating is something we carry into adulthood and even into our relationship with God. I know I’ve been guilty over the years of trying to bargain with the Almighty. I remember in the spring of 1991 just after finishing my chemo, I knew God was calling me to start a cancer support ministry. Honestly, I just wanted to put cancer behind me and get back to my normal life. Hanging out with cancer patients sounded depressing.

However, a few weeks later I came up with an idea that I figured would suit both God and me: I would start a cancer support group, and God would have to let me live because everyone in that group would need me!

But God reminded me that He doesn’t play “Let’s Make a Deal.” (I was surprised, too,  that He knew that TV show!) Instead, He wanted me to get involved—no guarantees and definitely no negotiating.

As most of you know, I reluctantly started a Cancer Prayer Support Group in October 1991 and it became one of the greatest joys of my life. In fact, many of you reading this are people I met in that group. Eventually, that group led to me being hired by my oncologist, Dr. Marc Hirsh, where I met many, many more of you. And then my role as his patient advocate led to my writing my first book, When God & Cancer Meet, which has sold more than 100,000 copies and allowed me to meet many, many, many more of you.

What a great lesson in non-negotiating. I didn’t need to wring blessings from God’s hands.  He was  not interested in my bargaining chips or attempted cajoling. I just needed to follow where He was leading and leave the rest up to Him. When I did, He proved to me one again that He is able to “accomplish more than we might ask or think.” (Ephesians 3:20)

“So I stop all negotiations with the God of all Creation.
You’re bigger than I thought You were.
You’re bigger than I thought You were.
I will rest in the Father’s hands.
Leave the rest in the Father’s hands.”
–Passion “Bigger than I Thought You Were”

(P.S. Don’t miss the music video below–I honestly planned this whole blog around the words because they are so powerful.)