I understand Jonah. I get what he felt when he didn’t want to go to Nineveh and warn them of God’s wrath. I resonate with his sense of justice.
How can they have lived like this for so long and then just benefit from God’s goodness if they come around this late in the game?? NOT FAIR.
There was a season in my life when I felt this way. I had been in a prolonged battle with someone. This person had hurt me for a very long time. To be fair, I was not helping the situation for much of it. I was walking with Christ, don’t get me wrong. Praying, reading the Bible, begging people for help. I was trying to do the “right things”, even if most of my right things were making matters worse.
Except for one pesky little thing: my heart.
My heart was cold and shut off. And I had no idea whatsoever what to do about it.
But perhaps the worst part was that I felt justified in feeling the way I felt – angry and unforgiving and bordering ever so slightly on no-turning-back-bitterness – and I had no intention of even trying to change how I felt.
Until a friend said something to me that surprised me.
“Help me understand why you wouldn’t want changes to be made and to start being treated well, because I think you should want that and I don’t get it.”
In other words, she was gently saying, Who are you to judge? Who are you to make these determinations? Who are you to say what’s just beyond the grace lines of God?
In essence, she was echoing God to Jonah:
And God was so right. And she was so right. And I was so wrong. And I had no explanation.
Other than this: I was terrified. I was so, so scared to open myself up again. I was so, so exhausted to even attempt to trust again. I was so, so sad by all the hurt that had piled up. And, frankly, I was so, so angry that so much had gone unchecked for so long, and it didn’t seem fair that maybe a couple weeks or months of some changes would make everyone else all happy and optimistic about this situation.
But then there’s the Spirit who reminded me, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
And my counselor who said, “Show me an angry woman and I’ll show you someone who hasn’t forgiven.” (#ouch)
And my friend’s gentle words reminding me that maybe, just maybe, I really could and should try to open my heart up and trust that Jesus would catch me if I fell, and put it back together again if it did indeed break yet again.
Listen, I know that life is unfair. I know that it feels like so much falls through the cracks in this big wide world of ours. I know that sometimes we go through seasons in our lives that are pain upon pain and we see no end in sight. I know we can feel unheard and even unseen sometimes. I know that God is invisible to us and can appear to be quiet or checked out or too busy with other things or surely, this little problem of ours just doesn’t stack up.
But I also believe something truer and bigger than heartbreak: God will one day set all things right. That he sees us. That he has not abandoned us. That he will render recompense, even for things that appear to be in the dark and forever hidden.
He sees you. He sees your foe. He sees your pain. And he is both full of grace and full of justice. So we, dear ones, can rest. We can let it go. We can trust in his power. We can trust in his love. We can trust that he’s got this. We can trust.
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