Recently, I’ve been feeling empathy for the biblical character of Jonah.
(And not just because I fear large bodies of water, where all kinds of deadly creatures lurk beneath an unsuspecting swimmer’s dangling feet.)
God called Jonah to preach repentance to the Ninevites. The Ninevites were Assyrians, a ruthless people who posed a constant threat to Israel and all those Jonah loved.
In fact, the generations after Jonah had to deal with the cruelty of the Assyrians, who eventually destroyed one section of Israel and took the people captive.
Jonah understood what these people were capable of. He also knew God.
God intended to give the Assyrians a chance to repent. And once they did, Jonah knew God would welcome them with open arms.
Jonah wanted no part in reaching a group of people who were sure to cause trouble in the long run.
He saw only heartbreak down the path where God was leading and desired to avoid it.
But in running from the pain he feared, he had to run from God as well.
When I contemplate Jonah’s predicament, I can’t help but remember Corrie Ten Boom—one of my heroes—a Dutch woman who risked her life to hide Jews during the Holocaust.
At one point during those dangerous days, God allowed Corrie to see what was coming down the road for her.
She dreamed that she and her family were caught by the Nazis and driven away to captivity and death.
Corrie believed the dream was a vision of a certain future.
Surely the best way to avoid the torment and grief the Nazis were sure to inflict would be to bar the door and keep their hiding place to themselves.
But when Corrie shared her dream with her beloved sister Betsie, she held a different view. Betsie told Corrie . . .
“If God has shown us bad times ahead, it’s enough for me that He knows about them.
That’s why He sometimes shows us things, you know.
To tell us that this too is in His hands.”
Though the Assyrian culture and mindset towards God’s people didn’t change much over the centuries, God never wrote them off. Why?
God told Jonah that there were 120,000 Ninevites “who cannot tell their right hand from their left.”
That means kids.
God allowed the risk to Jonah himself and to Israel’s future in order to save a generation of children.
Because our big-hearted Heavenly Father does not wish any to perish.
God aches over the sufferings of the Jonahs and the Corrie Ten Booms of the world. He does not take their suffering lightly.
But somehow He works all things together for the good of those who love Him—both for those who suffer in His Name and for those He sends them to reach.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?
Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness
or danger or sword?
As it is written: ‘For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.’
No, in all these things we are more than conquerors
through him who loved us.
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons,
neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,
neither height nor depth,
nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us
from the love of God
that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”
Thanks for stopping by today. Blessings, friends!
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