Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Surrender: Part 2

"The waters closed in over me to take my life; the deep surrounded me; weeds were wrapped about my head at the roots of the mountains.  I went down to the land whose bars closed upon me forever; yet you brought up my life from the pit, O LORD my God." - Jonah 2:5,6

Jonah was a sneaky, mean-spirited prophet.  He hated God's call.  He absolutely hated the call to share God's judgement on Nineveh, for he knew it would come with God's mercy.

The irony about Jonah, is that he was so grumpy and mad precisely because he understood the nature of God.  He knew that God would save even the worst of the worst, Israel's horrific enemies, the blasted Ninevites.

But what I see in Jonah, is that even after his prayer quoted above, even after he'd been saved from certain death, he still had room to hate his enemies.

My dad's studied a lot of Jonah, and he likes to point out God's last words in the book: "And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more that 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle."

"and also much cattle."

Why would God throw out that last line?  Dad thinks (at least I think he thinks) its because Jonah's conscience is so seared, so blind, so hard towards the Ninevites, that he throws out a plea for the cattle. Perhaps Jonah really liked beef.

It's sad, but when it comes to surrendering to God's will, I'm a lot like Jonah.  Sometimes I've got to get tossed in the ocean, swallowed by a fish, spat up, preach the most effective sermon ever and sit under a plant whining until God just paints it in bold print YOU ARE BEING A BRAT.  Even the cows don't like you.

Now God is ridiculously patient with me.  Just as he was with Jonah.  He knows that surrender is really hard.  But he knows its what's best for me.  In fact he knows its the only way for me.

God knows that left to myself, I'd just whine myself to death.  So the words that Jonah prays ring true again and again and again for the Christian.  In fact they are the Christians hope:  "Salvation belongs to the Lord."

Between whinings, this cheers me up, and I think is a step in the direction of surrender.