This is the last week in my study of Jonah – Navigating the Interrupted Life. I worked it out in my mind that it was going to be smooth sailing, all down hill. You know, getting the dessert after one big hearty meal. But what I am quickly discovering is that I still have some more meat (the hard stuff) to chew on. You see, Jonah was obedient to God, but his heart had a bit of catching up to do. Jonah simply was angry. He was angry that God showed mercy and compassion upon the Ninevites, when in Jonah’s mind, they did not deserve it.
In Jonah 4:4, God said, “Do you have good reason to be angry?” For some reason that question floored me. Yes, I have reason to be angry! Are you kidding me? Through that question, I thought God was implying that we have no right to be angry. When in fact He already knew the answer to that question, He just wanted to give Jonah (me) the opportunity to answer.
Sometimes God (already knowing the answer) has to ask those tough questions just so what still lies beneath can rise to the surface.
So I find myself again facing some truth I don’t want to swallow. I am angry like Jonah. Angry at those who go unpunished, when in my mind they should suffer the consequences of their actions. Angry at my God who allowed terrible things to happen to me. To allow my innocence to be shattered, robbed, violated by two individuals. God did not plan for me to be harmed. He said it in Jeremiah 29:11. “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” But just the opposite happened!
I still don’t understand and I may never in this lifetime.
But you see, I find (through this study) that I leave out the truth, His truth. I don’t keep reading. I stop at that part that upsets me. Like Jonah, I focused on God extending mercy and compassion to those that hurt me or betrayed me, but failed to recognize that the guilty do not go unpunished.
Exodus 34:6-7 6 And he passed in front of Moses, proclaiming, “The LORD, the LORD, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness, 7 maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin. Yet he does not leave the guilty unpunished; he punishes the children and their children for the sin of the fathers to the third and fourth generation.”
Sometimes I think our circumstances leave us trapped with the inability to move on. We get so caught up on being vindicated/validated/justified that it keeps us bound up and not able to move forward.
Like me, maybe you have had to answer some tough questions lately or maybe you simply avoid them. I hope that you will take the time to dig and uncover what exactly lies beneath. Seek out the truth (even if it’s painful) and let it set you free.
“Each man is questioned by life; and he can only answer to life by answering for his own life; to life he can only respond by being responsible.” Viktor E. Frankl