Nan Blythe had been making bargains with God, from the littlest things to the largest, and no one had noticed– apart from those times where a secret prayer had been answered and Nan would be taking her castor-oil without a fuss, or that time when she was crawling around the barn 14 times after her china cat’s missing eye was restored. Oh, the philosophy of a law-driven world.
It was only when she couldn’t keep the most tremendous bargain of all– walking through the graveyard at night (the most feared of action of all due to ghost stories told by a school fellow!) for her mother’s life. Anne Blythe had taken ill with pneumonia, yet even when she was well on the road to recovery, her daughter Nan could not fulfill her ‘deal’ with God.
Oh, we do that, don’t we? Think that somehow our success is from our ferventness, and our failures are our finality.
Yet, they’re not.
And this is what a wise, straight-faced mother told her sobbing daughter, after weeks of spiritual agony and the final moment of honesty:
“Darling, you’re terribly mistaken about it all. God doesn’t make bargains. He gives… gives without asking anything from us in return except love. When you ask Father or me for something you want, we don’t make bargains with you… and God is ever and ever so much kinder than we are. And He knows so much better than we do what is good to give.”
–Anne of Ingleside, by L.M. Montgomery
The law-driven lies in my head revolt against this constant gift of mercy and grace. “He gives, gives without anything from us in return except love”. And that’s what I’ve seen today. How do I deserve a day off teaching? How do I get extra space to do my planing? How can the protractors from geometry class be delivered to me– wasn’t I supposed to go get them myself? How do I deserve this?
That’s the Law.
However, Jesus called for love. He made a covenant not a bargain. “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you…” (Ezekiel 36:26).
Not so we can consistently do a perfect job well-done always,
have “a heart full of love” (Les Miserables) beating beyond the vacant bargains.
Let Him love on you today, tonight.
He’s the best at it.
Photo credit: The Anne of Green Gables Store