My oldest grandson has always been the most somber of the group. When he was little, and something would happen he would say: “Wasn’t expecting that.” Like much of life, right?
I think we wish there would be lots of warning, or at least a quick heads-up. Funny, us humans, even when we get a sneak preview, we’re still caught off guard. Jonah was told by the Lord to go to Nineveh, to talk to the people about sin and God. Jonah, who had a very low opinion of the Ninevites, said no way and ran the opposite direction.
Wasn’t long before he was on the road to Nineveh as God has a way of directing where he wants us. So, Jonah does what he’s told. And, great news, the people took his words to heart and changed their ways. Not the end of the story. You see, Jonah didn’t think they deserved a chance, so he threw a big pity party. “Just kill me now, LORD! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen.” (Jonah 4:3 NLT)
That’s us. We pray for a loved one’s salvation. But when the drunk driver gets clean and finds Jesus, we think: ‘Why him? He hit my friend’s car and turned her life upside down.’ Pity party. Not waiting to see if perhaps this is what God will use to bring her to Christ as well.
You see, Jonah wasn’t expecting the results that God knew would happen. In his self-righteousness, he even thought he knew better than God. When the unexpected happened, he let his judgement dictate his response. The Bible and life are full of ‘least expecteds’.
I’m pretty sure we wouldn’t want advance notice of the car wreck, the diagnosis, the job termination. We would run the other way, do things our way, and make a mess. It’s the history of the human race. We take things into our hands, we pass judgement, we try to control.
But each of our ‘least expecteds’ are life lessons that help us, should we choose to trust God, with the next event.
In the middle of the book of Romans Paul tells us how to live at all times. The good ones, the bad ones, and the oh no, what’s happening ones. Two key verses: “Do not be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” (Romans 12:12 NIV)
Paul would have had much to share with Jonah. Jonah, like us, learns the hard way. But God’s ways are better than ours. His results always show the way – to life well lived, for the better of others, and straight to eternity. Joy, hope, patience, faith, prayer – serve the Lord. He’s got this.
PLaY CReaTivEly WitH YoUr LiTtLe OnE
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