This has always worked for me. Every time.
Today when I was going to pick up my son, I couldn’t find my glasses. I searched in all the usual places with no success. So, I did what I usually do: I prayed. And I bargained with God.
“Lord,” I said, “if You help me find my glasses, I’ll be sure to tell my son that You did that for me.”
Sure enough, moments after tossing off that little prayer, I went to the place that I’d omitted in all my previous searching. The place next to where I’d recorded a track in a guitar song I’m working on. The place where I rarely put my glasses, because I rarely record in that particular room.
I laughed, and resolved that when I picked up Alan (my son, not his real name) I’d tell him the story. You see, though my faith is important to me… very important to me, I’m not nearly as good a Christian as I ought to be. And my attendance at church — you know, at places where I can show others that my faith is important to me, and you know, spread The Word — has been, to put it charitably, sporadic.
But I want my children to be Christians… full-throated, believin’, Jesus-lovin’, unabashed, no-foolin’ Christians, and I like to do what my mom always called “God talk” with them. They’re believers just like me, but I worry that my example isn’t good enough.
Hence my bargains and the shape they take. You see, they’re for the benefit of myself, of course, because I always find the thing I’m looking for, but they’re also for my children, and they’re also for God, who really does deserve some lovin’ right back.
Back to the story…
I headed out the door doing my usual… inventory. Glasses? Check. Wallet? Check. Phone? Phone? Phone? No phone. Really? Seriously? I’d just been on the phone! Arranging with Alan for when I was going to pick him up. I did it all again… re-traced all my steps. Nope. Not there… nowhere to be found. With a sigh, I closed my eyes and said in my mind, “Lord if You help me find my phone, I’ll tell Alan the whole story. Including the phone.”
Yep. It was the next place I looked. My very black phone was right there on the very black speaker that I was using in my recording session. I’d looked there several times already, but hadn’t seen it, because it blended so well with the color of the speaker. This last time, though, there it was… pretty much in plain sight.
With a chuckle, I changed my resolution to include the phone in the story for my son. As I drove out the driveway, I remembered: Alan had asked me whether we could bring Danny home too.
Ah! Now, it all made sense! I wasn’t supposed to tell my story to Alan, though that was the deal. Danny was supposed to hear the story! Danny’s Vietnamese… a real good kid, a good volleyball player, a friend of Alan’s and someone whose company I enjoy. Danny’s not a Christian. He’s kind of a traditionalist Buddhist, but even that comes from family habit and tradition, rather than from any kind of belief.
So, true to my word — if you’re going to bargain with God, you really should be true to your word — I told the story to Alan… so that Danny could hear it too. I told the whole story. The part about the glasses, the part about the phone, and the most important part: the part about how that little prayer always works. Every time.
Try it. It works.