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Kate Bush Running Up That Hill (A Deal With God)

What if there should be fifty….forty-five….forty….thirty…twenty… ten….Genesis 18:24-32

I always liked Kate Bush and was pleasantly surprised when her song Running Up That Hill not only made a comeback, but hit Number 1. I do not watch Stranger Things (I am finding the current age strange enough), but I am glad they featured this great song. The song was originally titled “A Deal With God,” but the record executives made her change the title because quote “representatives at EMI Records feared this would make it unpopular in more religious countries.”

Somehow that media executives would believe that religious folks would find negotiating with God offensive reflects more on their ignorance of matters of faith than on the hypersensitivity of Christians. “Making deals with God” is one of the most natural of all faith impulses. While we seldom consciously express it as powerfully as Ms. Bush does in song or with the boldness that Abraham does in his bartering over the fate of Sodom (Genesis 18), we all have offered God something in exchange for a desired outcome. Though the “foxholes” of life frequently do drive us towards the Deity, if the truth be told, most promises made to God in desperation are forgotten once the crisis passes. I am reminded of the story of how a brilliant young law student promised St. Anne that he would become a monk if he survived a violent thunderstorm that had overtaken him while traveling on horseback. The fact that several weeks later, Martin Luther fulfilled his pledge is a bigger miracle than dodging thunderbolts.

Yet if we look closely at the greatest “haggling” story in the Bible (Genesis 18:22-33), God is not bartering with Abraham; Abraham is bidding against himself. Our attempts to bargain with God is like cheating at solitaire. God listens to Abraham (and us) because God has made a covenant with his people. When it comes to the most important things in life, God takes us more seriously than we take ourselves. The only ultimate gift God has to give is his love and the only thing we have that God wants is ourselves. That might be the best deal ever.


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