This week I’ve been continually blessed as I remember the statement that Jonah made after God had forgiven Nineveh.  In Jonah 4:2, we read, “Jonah prayed to the Lord, “When I was still in my own country this is what I said would happen. and that is why I quickly ran away to Tarshish.  I knew that you are a God who is kind and shows mercy.  You don’t become angry quickly, and you have great love.  I knew you would choose not to cause harm…”  (NCV)

I’ve been captivated by the wonder of this God who loves boundlessly, who is kind and shows mercy–to me as well as Nineveh.  Of course, Jonah was asking God to kill him because Jonah’s mission had been successful and God had proven to be good, gracious and forgiving.  Often I’ve zeroed my attention toward the warped statement Jonah used to describe his faith and overlooked the magnificent truth that he expressed.

This side of eternity, we will not be able to explain why our members have been born with disabilities.  Yes.  We know and acknowledge that God can “strike a straight lick with a crooked stick.” He can orchestrate amazing blessings drawn from tragedy.  However, can we ever rest easily knowing that innocent babes are born to great suffering and distress.

Yet, we can be assured that God is good and loving.  Today, I was talking with a woman almost 50 years old.  She had been rushed to the hospital a few days before because of hemorrhaging.  “I must re-evaluate my life,” she confessed openly.  I’ve been visiting her work place for almost a year.  Today, she was speaking to me because she knew that I know the God who is loving and forgiving.  And she wants to know Him, too.

I heard her say, “I don’t know why I’ve resisted the Lord for so many years–wasting almost a lifetime.”  I walked away thinking.  It isn’t merely the mentally challenged community that needs and desires a loving God.  There is a song, “People Need the Lord.”  I found myself humming the chorus the rest of the day.

Nevertheless, I’ve never encountered a population of people, like the mentally challenged community. They are people who want to know and understand God’s ways and love.  It is a great privilege to be called to minister to this cloistered sub-culture who want God’s forgiveness and desire to live godly lives.  At the close of the day, my prayer is I know that you are a God who is kind and shows mercy.  You don’t become angry quickly, and you have great love.  I know you will choose not to cause harm.  Continue to make my heart grateful for the calling you’ve placed on my life.

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