The definition of quid pro quo is: Something that is given in return for something else or accepted as a reciprocal part of an exchange.
This last week took me through the wringer. It all started on Saturday when I did something to my left knee. Sunday through Wednesday it kept getting progressively worse until I could barely walk. I had to work from home on Thursday, because there was no way I could even drive (I have a manual transmission).
I managed to get a surprising amount of work done, but it still wasn’t enough.
Springtime is one of the busiest times of the year, because that’s when people want to start gearing up for construction (I work for an engineering firm). So of course, developers are champing at the bit to get their site plans submitted to the governing city/county and approved as soon as possible.
I was able to go to work on Friday and managed to get all of it done.
I had difficulty trying to submit two of them through the city’s online submission form, though. I was already a bit stressed, and then to be stopped through no fault of my own made it even worse. To add to it all, the city had approved a set of street plans on Thursday, yet at 3:30 pm said we needed to make a change (which wasn’t our fault) by the end of the day or they would cancel the project. A project that’s been in the works for over three years. Still, I made the required changes and submitted it in time, and we also managed to get the online form issue resolved, so there’s that.
To top it all off, though, I received a letter from my state’s board of registration that someone had filed a complaint against me.
Which leads me to the point of this entry: Bargaining.
I didn’t ask God for strength or patience to complete the many projects on time (and I probably should have. It would at the very least have kept my blood pressure in check, and at my age, it’s an important consideration).
I did take the time ask God to give me the right words to respond to the complaint, yet I added that, in exchange for his help, I would do better to maintain and grow my relationship with him.
Except that’s not how it works. Yes, I should absolutely focus on him throughout every circumstance and challenge. And yes, blessings will always result in following God’s path.
What’s also true is that he won’t necessarily hold back a particular blessing or help because I didn’t talk or pray to him or do a devotion that morning.
I actually hate the idea of attempting to quid pro quo with God, so it’s even more… icky when I find myself doing it. Instead of being God’s partner, I’m treating God like some kind of vending machine.
So I will remove that part of my prayer and instead work with him, focus on him, and trust that no matter if my response is perfect or even adequate, his will is done.