When I was about six years old, my mom bought me the best toy ever—a brand new Transformer, Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots.

But one day when she enters my room, she notices an unfamiliar toy on my dresser. Then she says to me, “Son, where did you get this from? I don’t remember buying this.”

Just as I begin to form a lie in my mind, she says, “And before you answer, I want you to think about the consequences of lying in this house.”

Without revealing all the details, I’ll just say that the consequences had something to do with an intense relationship between a belt and my backside!

I grudgingly confess that I had traded Optimus Prime for that rinky-dink toy on my dresser. 

She replies, “You did what? Traded with who? You don’t take anything out this house that I buy! Did you buy it?”

“No ma’am.”

She says, “Boy, close your mouth!”

“Okay.”

She says, “Didn’t I say close your mouth?”

I nod. 

She says, “Where does he live?”

I just look at her. 

She yells, “Boy, say something! Didn’t I ask you a question?”

(I was so confused. I didn’t know if I should answer her question or ignore her question.)

She yells more loudly, “Where does he live?!”

I answer, “I don’t know.”

She says, “You don’t know? What do you mean you don’t know?”

I say, “I don’t know what I mean.”

So we just start walking throughout the neighborhood. Eventually we do find the boy with whom I traded, and my mom makes him give me the toy back because this was such an unfair trade.

After all, we are comparing the incomparable Optimus Prime with some raggedy, forgettable toy. That’s not a fair trade.

When it comes to our relationship with God, however, God is willing to accept an unfair trade from us. When we give God our problems, God is willing to give us peace. When we give God our pain, God is willing to give us power. It’s not a fair trade. But God is willing to make that trade anyway.

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