“As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” – Isaiah 55:9
In 2015, country artist Jimmy Fortune released the hit single, “If I Was God.” The lyrics include: “If I was God... I'd never let that cancer take away my Dad. I’d add at least 40 to the 60 years he had. He could know my kids … If I was God.” Two years later, Roger Waters (of Pink Floyd fame) came out with a similar song called “Déjà Vu” that ended the first verse this way: “If I had been God, with my staff and my rod … if I had been given the nod, I believe I could have done a better job.”
Both Jimmy Fortune and Roger Waters touch on a question that most of us have thought at one time or another: Why doesn’t God do things … differently?
How could a loving God allow my best friend to get killed by a drunk driver? How could a loving God let a child get cancer? If God knows the future, why does He allow rapists, human traffickers and mass murderers to be born? Truthfully, at times we echo the lyrics of Roger Waters: “If had been given the nod, I believe I could have done a better job.”
During his lifetime, I’m sure the Prophet Jonah had many shining moments when he trusted and quickly obeyed God. But we don’t read about them in the Book of Jonah. Instead, we read about a time when Jonah was at his worst—a time when He didn’t trust or obey God. When he was sent to preach to the wicked people of Ninevah, Jonah believed that God was wrong … dead wrong. Therefore, His marching orders to Jonah were wrong. And when God ultimately had mercy on the Ninevites—to Jonah, it seemed as if God had LOST HIS MIND!
We’ll never know all the answers to God’s workings this side of heaven, but I’d like to share a few insights about God that we can take from the Book of Jonah:
Insight #1: Throughout human
history, when a nation doesn’t repent, God judges it. But when a nation truly
repents, God has mercy on it. In Exodus 34:6-7, God told Moses, “[I Am] the compassionate
and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness,
maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”
God told the people of
Insight #2: God can’t be trusted to hate the people we hate or be prejudiced against the people we’re prejudiced against. We talk a lot about God being faithful and trustworthy. But you can’t trust God to be angry at the people you’re angry at. And you can’t trust God to send people to hell who you think should go to hell. We like the people around us to think like us: to be upset when we’re upset, to be angry when we’re angry, and to hate when we hate. But if that’s what you’re expecting from God, you’re going to be very disappointed. God doesn’t think the way you think. And God doesn’t act the way you act. He tells us in Isaiah 55:8-9, “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways. As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts.” If you’re looking for a god to think like you and hold petty grudges like you, the God of heaven and earth is not for you.
Insight #3: God will always care more about people’s souls than He cares about your comfort and happiness. God isn’t as shallow as we are. We tell people we care about, “I just want you to be happy.” God tells people HE cares about, “Right now I’m not interested in your happiness. I’m interested in your obedience. There will be plenty of time for you to be happy in heaven. But for now, I want you to help Me seek and save the lost. And ultimately, nothing will make you happier in heaven than seeing people there who you invited.”
Insight #4: Unlike Jonah, God was
willing to lose face and be misunderstood for the good and salvation of others.
In all likelihood,
Jonah was concerned about his reputation. When his fellow Jews found out that
he had a part in bringing about the deliverance of their greatest enemy,
In the first verse of Jimmy Fortune’s song, “If I Was God,” he wrestles with questions of why God would allow his best friend to be killed by a drunk driver and why God would allow his dad to die of cancer at the age of 60. He seems to think: “If I was God … I believe I could have done a better job.” But then he gets to the chorus: “But who am I to question what is best? I can’t make a heart beat in a chest. I could never let my Son die upon a cross. The whole world would be lost … if I was God. So, thank God I’m not. Thank God I’m not!”
God has generously shared ALL good things with us … including His own Son. So, let’s all follow in His footsteps and do the same, especially when it comes to sharing Jesus with the people around you.
Dane Davis is the pastor of Impact Christian Church in Victorville. His new book, “Buoyed Up: Jesus’ 8 Steps to an Unsinkable Life,” is now available on Amazon in print, e-book and audiobook. Join us at Impact for Sunday services,in person at 9 a.m., or online at 10a.m. on Facebook Live or YouTube. For more information, visit www.GreaterImpact.cc.