I'll Trade You

“Only ask, and I will give you the nations as your inheritance, the whole earth as your possession”

Psalm 2:8

I love peanut butter. I can remember back in grade school and the cafeteria made these delicious honey and peanut butter squares. I would have cut off my right arm for a tray of those things and would pretty much offer my friends everything in my lunch-pale for just one of those peanut butter squares. I’d start every conversation on those days with, “I’ll trade you” and the bartering began.

It was the same in High School  but now it was those peanut butter cookies that the cafeteria ladies made fresh daily. My staple for lunch most days was two of those giant peanut butter cookies and two things of milk. I was in seventh heaven and when the cafeteria ran out I was on a mission to find someone with a cookie and I’d start in, “I’ll trade you” and see what happens.

Are you aware God likes to trade too? He is constantly seeking ways to bless our lives but often times He will wait until we are willing to let go of something we are holding onto. You can almost hear the Lords voice saying, “I’ll trade you” when he sees our plate so full of things like doubt and worry, anger and frustration, sin and shame, hatred and bitterness. The list could go on and on and as much God wants to bless our lives often times He can’t simply because we are holding onto other things so tightly there’s no room for anything else.

Most of us don’t even realize how tight our grip is.  Are you aware that when you are stressed or anxious that you tense up? Have you ever been driving in heavy traffic and discovered just how tightly you are holding on to the steering wheel? Fear and worry have a way of making us hold on tighter to things that God today wants us to loosen our grip on and give them over to Him. Can you hear your Heavenly Father’s  voice calling out to you this morning, “I’ll trade you”?

Every college student who ever lived on campus and ate in the school commissary, (a big word for cafeteria)  probably wishes Isaiah 55:1-2, was the schools food policy.  Isaiah writes, “Is anyone thirsty? Come and drink— even if you have no money! Come, take your choice of wine or milk— it’s all free! Why spend your money on food that does not give you strength? Why pay for food that does you no good? Listen to me, and you will eat what is good. You will enjoy the finest food.” God loves to initiate trades with His children to help us learn to trust Him, and to stretch us and cause us to grow. But most of all like any loving Father (but even more so because being God, His love is greater), He wants to bless us if we will trust Him and loosen our grip and open our hands to receive.

It’s been well said, “God gives His best to those who leave the choice to Him”. Having a daughter myself I have always enjoyed this story titled,  “The Dime Store Necklace”. “Jenny, a cheerful little girl with bouncy golden curls was almost five. Waiting with her mother at the checkout stand one afternoon, she saw them: a circle of glistening white pearls in a pink foil box. She said, “Oh please, Mommy. Can I have them? Please, Mommy, please!” Quickly her mom checked the back of the little foil box for the price and then looked into those beautiful pleading blue eyes of her little girl’s face and said. “A dollar ninety-five.! That’s almost $2 Jenny. If you really really want them, then you are going to have to help mommy by doing some extra chores around the house so you can save up enough money to buy them yourself.”

As soon as Jenny got home, she started right in emptying her piggy bank and counting out all of 17 cents. After dinner, she did more than her share of chores. She went to the neighbors house the next morning and asked if she could pick dandelions to sell for ten cents. On her birthday, Jenny’s Grandma visited and gave her a new crisp dollar bill and at last Jenny had enough money to buy the necklace. Jenny loved her pearls. They made her feel grown up. She wore them everywhere—Sunday school, kindergarten, even to bed at night. Jenny had a very loving daddy who each night would stop whatever he was doing and come upstairs to read his little girl a story before bed.

One night when he finished the story, he asked Jenny, “Do you love me?” “Oh yes, Daddy. You know that I love you.” “Then may I have your pearls?” “No, Daddy, No, not my pearls. But you can have Princess—(the white horse from her pony collection.) Remember, Daddy? The one you gave me. She’s my favorite.” “That’s okay, honey. Daddy loves you. Good night.” And he kissed her good night. About a week later, after another story time, Jenny’s daddy asked again, “Do you love me?” “Daddy, you know I love you.” Then will you give me your pearls?” “No, Daddy, No, not my pearls. You can have my baby doll. The brand new one I got for my birthday. “That’s okay, Honey. Sleep well and remember that God loves you, And your Daddy loves you too.” And as always, he kissed her goodnight.

Several days later, when Jenny’s father came in to read her a bed time story, Jenny was sitting on the edge of her bed and her little bottom lip was quivering. She said, “Here, Daddy,” as she held out her hand. There in the palm of her hand was the pearl necklace that she held on to so tightly. She placed them into her father’s hand. Her father took the plastic dime store pearls and put them in his pocket while with his other hand he pulled out of his pocket a blue velvet box and handed it to his daughter. Here, sweetie her dad said, I want you open this. Inside of the box were a string of expensive real, genuine, beautiful pearls. He had had them all along. He was just waiting for Jenny to give up the cheap dime store pearls so he could give her the real thing.

Is there anything that you are holding onto today that God is whispering to you, “I’ll trade you?” Is there anything you are saying “No Daddy, No”, to your Heavenly Father because you just cant see yourself letting go? Maybe it’s fear you are holding onto today. There is a lot of that going around these days. Why not let God replace it with love. Are you aware that the opposite of love is fear not hate. We can hate and have fear at the same time but we can’t love and be fearful at the same time for God’s perfect love casts out fear. Maybe your mind is filled with worry today? Let God help you replace your worry with worship instead. Are feeling insecure with all that is going on in the world today? God is whispering to you, “I’ll trade your insecurities for trust.” Are you restless and anxious today? Trade them in for God’s peace today. How about trading God, isolation for a sense of belonging, or aimlessness for a sense of purpose today.

Know this loved one, that whatever you and I are clinging to today, God has something far better for us if only we’ll open our hand and let go. Don’t settle for cheap dime store pearls any longer, don’t say “No Daddy, No” to your Heavenly Father another day. Open your hand, loosen your grip and empty it out so you can receive all that the Father has for you!

“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. “You fathers—if your children ask for a fish, do you give them a snake instead? Or if they ask for an egg, do you give them a scorpion? Of course not! So if you sinful people know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him.”

Luke 11:9-13


Michael Osthimer





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