Going to Nineveh

Hello Friends,

Today, I have a question for you: what is your Nineveh?  This is something that has been on my mind this week, as all my plans for the summer seem to be falling through.  For me, I believe my Nineveh is the Unknown.

Over these past several months, I have been working desperately to find a Summer Internship, and things seemed to be going well.  I’ve had interview after interview, and I even got one job offer. But, these past two weeks have been silent, and every moment that my phone doesn’t ring is a moment I lose hope. The job I wanted the most is now out of my reach.  That was a really hard one for me.

Last week I heard a sermon in which the pastor said, “When you pray you should say, ‘God, I want this thing; I think you want this thing for me, but if you are not going to be with me in this thing, don’t send me.’”  I prayed that this week, and God answered.  He’s not sending me.

Going to NinevehI’d like to be able to smile and say, “this is exactly what I asked for.  God works all things together for the good of those that love Him.  It’s not what He wants for me.” You get it.  In my head, I can say those things, and I do believe them.  But that doesn’t change the fact that in my heart I feel lost and disappointed.

So, what can I do with those feelings?  Is it possible to praise God for answering my prayer and at the same time mourn over the way that He answered it? Can I trust God with my future and at the same time fear the uncertainty of it?  I think a lot of people would say, “no,” that fear and disappointment show lack of faith.

I think those people are wrong.

Before he was crucified, Jesus was afraid.  He asked God not to send Him to the cross (Luke 22:42), and I’d be willing to bet that when God’s answer to that prayer was to send Him to the cross anyways, He was disappointed. Yet, He went.  And that’s the kicker, isn’t it: He went to the cross with fear and disappointment, not in spite of His trust in the Father, but because of it.

Refusing to go where God sends us, like Jonah refusing to go to Nineveh, that is lack of faith.  Feeling afraid of the Unknown and disappointed when plans don’t pan out, that is natural.  The question of faith is not necessarily a question of how you feel about the events of life.  It is more often a question of, when you feel disappointed and afraid, will you go to Nineveh anyway.

 

PC: Marcelo Vaz

Friends to the End

Do you ever wish you had the power to fix everyone’s problems and just make their lives better?  I’ve been feeling this a lot lately as people tell me about their heartbreaking struggles.  I listen dumbstruck as they tell me of loved ones they have lost, hostile in environments they have lived in, and battles they have fought.  At a loss for words my only thought, my only wish is to go back in time and make those horrible things not happen to them.  What words of affirmation and comfort do you offer to people fighting battles that seem impossible?  What can you do to fill their lives with joy and happiness when all they have known is grief?  I think the most heartbreaking thing to see is someone who is resigned to their grief.  The people my heart bleeds for, the ones I want to help the most, are the completely closed-off-open-books.

The closed-off-open-books are the friendly people that make you feel like you know them so well right from the start, but then slowly you begin to see that you know nothing about them.  These are people who have been broken. They accept the fact that life has and will continue to beat them down.  Is it enough to tell a broken person that Jesus loves them?  Is it helpful to tell someone who’s fighting that God is still in control?  The truth is, I don’t know the answer.

Often times you read blogposts from people who come prepared with answers to the questions they are asking.  Most bloggers are that one kid in school that ALWAYS does the homework and is always prepared for class.  I’m not going to lie; usually, I am that kid.  But today, I don’t know.  Today I have more questions than answers.  I do know that I believe God is in control of every situation.  He is using His power to work good in the lives of all those who love Him, no matter the circumstance.  But when someone is watching a loved one die from cancer, is that knowledge comforting?  I know that I believe that God uses hard circumstance to make people stronger and draw them closer to Him.  But when you can’t find a job to pay the bills, does that knowledge help?  Today I’m the student who didn’t do her homework and is asking a plethora of questions in an attempt to try and mask my unpreparedness in the school of life.  All I know is that I long to help those in need.  To offer comfort and to give them some happy thought.  To help them find joy in times of peace and strength in time of trouble, because that is what good friend does.  And I would have no idea what it means to be a good friend, if Jesus didn’t show me.  For there is no greater friend than the one who would die a painful death to right your wrongs and save your soul.  So, who knows perhaps just being a good friend is comfort enough?