Week 5 – March 18, 2018

One of the most challenging things about being a follower of Christ is having faith not only through life’s triumphs, but also in the dark times. Inevitably, we are all going to walk through tough times – whether that entails illness, financial difficulty, relationship trouble, or the pain of losing a loved one. In these times, it is easy to feel alone – so alone that we might resent God for putting us in such a situation. If God loves us so much that he would give his Son as a sacrifice for us to live, why has he allowed such painful moments to creep into our lives?

Jonah resented God when he showed mercy on the citizens of Nineveh after they changed their sinful ways, despite Jonah telling Nineveh of their pending destruction (Jonah 4). Jonah was embarrassed, as his pride overruled God’s mercy, and said that he wished that he would die. This made me think about the times where I value my own selfish desires over the desires of God. How silly is it for me to think that I know better than my Creator?

We often ‘go in the corner and sulk’ when we are faced with adversity. I find myself pulling out my own hairs trying to come to conclusions, but to no avail. This has to frustrate God, as he longs for us to place our trust fully in Him. Surely God was frustrated when He sarcastically questioned Job (Job 38), frankly proving to Job that he will never understand His divine reasoning. When we feel that we are dealt an unfair hand, God wants us to trust in Him rather than in our own understanding.

All of this makes me think of my own parents teaching me discipline. I remember times when I would ask to stay over at a friend’s house, and they would tell me, “No, tonight is a family night. But we’ll still have fun!” This did not go over well in my underdeveloped brain. I would retreat to my bedroom, thinking, “This is so unfair; we do not even have plans; they must just hate me”, and I would resent them. But after a while, I would get over my tantrum, and I would end up enjoying time with my family. Reflecting back, I am so grateful for my parents’ tactics. It taught me how to handle hearing the word ‘no’. It taught me to trust in them that the alternative would be good.

God is desperately trying to connect with us and wants us to trust Him. John 3:16-17 tells us, in short, that God loves us and that he did not send Jesus to condemn us but to save us. Next time we are in a situation that seems helpless, unfair, too challenging, or all of the above, know that God is bigger than those feelings. He does not need our bitterness, and neither do we. He needs our devotion, and we need his.

Scripture For the Week to Pray, Meditate, and Focus your heart on:

Jonah 4
John 3:16-17
John 1

– Emmitt Smith