In a scene from the comedy movie The End, a suicidal character played by Burt Reynolds swims out to sea in an effort to drown himself. After swimming a fair distance from the shore, he begins drowning, but then feels guilty about leaving behind his daughter. Gasping for air as he sinks, he turns to God and offers a deal that if he makes it back to shore, he will make things right.
Why do we try to make deals with God? Usually it is from a sense of desperation when we’ve come to realize that whatever we long for is not going to be resolved without the intercession of God. But then why do we try to make a deal with Him?
God doesn’t make deals. He either does, or as Yoda might put it, does not. There is no in between.
Certainly we can approach Him, ask Him, and struggle with Him. What comes to mind is Jesus’ parables of the widow persistently going before the judge, or the traveler knocking on his friends’ door. You could also throw in Jacob wrestling with the angel, although I’m not convinced that anyone truly understands all the elements of that story.
But the principle we should get from those stories is how to be persistent, not how to barter.
God doesn’t do deals. So stop trying.