“Wake up, O Lord! Why do you sleep? Get up! Do not reject us forever. Why do you look the other way? Why do you ignore our suffering and oppression?…We no longer see your miraculous signs. All the prophets are gone, and no one can tell us when it will end. How long, O God, will you allow our enemies to insult you? Will you let them dishonor your name forever? Why do you hold back your strong right hand? Unleash your powerful fist and destroy them.– Psalm 44:23-24,
“Seriously, God?” I’m sure more than a few people stood watching their TV and wondered what is going on. Troubles seem to be all around us. We have a pandemic. And now we have a devastating hurricane in Louisiana and Texas. Every person who lives long enough will eventually encounter circumstances that are difficult to explain theologically. But sometimes things simply don’t make sense. It is at these times we need to look at God differently.
Jonah is a prime example of someone who didn’t believe what God was asking him to do made sense. God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh. Known for its eagerness to expand its boundaries and to cruelly subjugate conquered citizens, Assyria (Nineveh was the capital) loomed as a constant threat to Israel’s continued good fortune. One could assume that Israel’s God, who loved His people and was all-powerful, would take whatever steps were necessary to keep Israel secure. One step was obvious: destroy Nineveh. That made sense. But God told Jonah to go to Nineveh.
God told Jonah to go to Nineveh; give them a chance to repent. God did not want to destroy them. Jonah viewed them as an enemy so it didn’t make any sense so he went in the opposite direction. We all know the story. Jonah spent three days in the belly of a fish and went to Nineveh anyway. The story of Jonah reminds us that everything God does or doesn’t do is an expression of His unfailing love. His love makes Him willing to do whatever is necessary to restore people into a relationship with Him.
It is the same today during pandemics and hurricanes. Until we see Jesus face-to-face, we will never fully see God as He truly is. When we see God as He is, we will no longer resist His ways when they make no sense. We will no longer run away from Him into a “better” life than God provides. We may tremble, but we will trust. His thoughts and His ways will then be a source of never-ending delight.
Resisting and running will remain a temptation, a “reasonable” option when God’s ways make no sense. But we can trust in His love, grace. mercy and faithfulness: “Dear friends, we are already God’s children, but he has not yet shown us what we will be like when Christ appears. But we do know that we will be like him, for we will see him as he really is. And all who have this eager expectation will keep themselves pure, just as he is pure.” (1 John 3:2-3)
- What do you do when life just doesn’t seem to make sense?
- What can you do this week to trust God when things don’t make sense?