What I read today;
1 Peter 2-3; John 12;13; Jonah 3-4; Proverbs 13; Ecclesiastes 3; Deuteronomy 16
After all these centuries we still don’t really get who God is. It’s hard to understand why a loving God would allow all this suffering to go on. Why would a merciful creator allow gun violence, sexual assault, abortion, murder, war, genocide, hunger, starvation, and death to continue unabated? Why doesn’t he just come down here and straighten this mess our right now?
Jonah felt that way. He didn’t want to go to the evil city of Ninevah. Jonah tried to run away. He did everything in his power not to go. Then when God relented and showed mercy when the people of Ninevah repented, Jonah couldn’t believe it. How could God let them off the hook?
The problem for us is that we have a hard time understanding the true nature of who God is. We don’t really understand what God desires. We think of God as some sort of superhuman policeman who’s patrolling the word trying to even the scales. The truth is that God is a loving father who wants all of us to be saved. He wants all people to come to him in spite of what they’ve done. God, wants humanity to reach out in the night to him and to grab hold of him with all their might. He wants each of us to be free of the guilt and weight of our sins so that we can truly serve one another and God.
Unfortunately, that doesn’t square with our inner being. We see a group of people who are doing evil things, and we want justice. We want to see them punished. No mercy for them, just punishment. An eye for an eye suits us more than extending grace does.
We forget that our mission is to allow God to use us to extend grace and mercy to the world. After that, it’s our job to sit back and allow God to work the results.
Jonah didn’t understand that. He got angry when God didn’t do what he wanted. God showed him that he had no right to be mad for something that he really didn’t labor for. Jonah was the vessel that God used to preach to the people. Jonah preached God’s word, and that was it. The Holy Spirit did the convicting. If we remove our own wants and desires and trust God to do the work and trust that God’s plan is wiser than mine, our lives would be much simpler.