Can You Bribe God?

A military mom realizes she doesn’t have to jump through spiritual hoops on behalf of her deployed son.

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Posted in , Apr 5, 2018

Worried and praying

Be strong and courageous; don’t be terrified or afraid of them. For it is the Lord your God who goes with you; He will not leave you or forsake you.” (Deuteronomy 31:6, HSCB)

I’m not a big algebra fan. My gift is with words, not numbers. But while my son was deployed, I slipped into the habit of approaching my spiritual life like an equation. When it came to his well-being, I wanted answers, assurances and cold hard facts.

However, no one knows what is going to happen to a loved one who’s serving in the military. For sanity’s sake, we have to keep our faith strong and believe they’re going to return to us as good or better as when they left. But there are no guarantees.

I fell into the trap of treating God like I would an algebra problem. I reduced my faith to an equation, and I tried to do everything right:

--Pray with the right words and the right attitude.

--Stay strong in my faith and never doubt.

--Be so good that I could have some kind of spiritual extra-credit.

It seems crazy. But sometimes desperate people grab onto crazy things. The truth was I wanted to stack the deck in my son’s favor. I was willing to try anything that might bring him safely home.

All of this manipulation wasn’t helping him—it was hurting me. It took my focus off the One who was with him on the field of battle. Instead of moving closer to God, I was trying to solve the equation. I had shifted the burden to my shoulders.

Thankfully God found a way to get my attention. His gentle, insistent voice came through to me as I read His word. Our God interacts with us through a living, breathing relationship, not an equation. As I finally began to relax my grip on that algebraic mindset, His peace returned.

God is always with us, no matter what we face. His love for us goes beyond what we can think or imagine. We don’t have to worry about the outcome because we’ll never face it alone

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