God is just a genius.

No Comments » Written on December 8th, 2012 by Kelley Lorencin
Categories: God, Jonah

Jonah / chapter 2 (read the chapter)

I mean, really. What else can you say? God is simply a genius—both in the way He interacts with us and the way He brings us along in our understanding, teaching us all the things we need to learn in exactly the right way and in the right time. He is a master teacher.

You know, God is never just doing one thing or two things or even five things. His dealings with humanity interplay on so many levels, we might just spend eternity figuring out how all the little threads were woven together in just the right way.

Take Jonah, for instance. The more I read Jonah, the more I wonder if sending Jonah to Nineveh even had anything to do with Nineveh . . . or if it was all about Jonah. Well, of course the Ninevites needed God, too, but for all his Biblical knowledge, Jonah doesn’t seem to be much further down the road toward the kingdom than the heathens he hated.

And that’s why I found what God was doing in this chapter totally fascinating.

Here was part of Jonah’s prayer to the Lord from the belly of the great fish: “The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit.” (vs 5-6)

Jonah began his brief Biblical story by turning his back on God and running away. It wasn’t like he was naive or uninformed about God. He was downright rebellious. Then, after his encounter with the big storm and his trip into the sea, Jonah experienced a bit of repentance. He came to see the error of his ways, and he cried out to God for salvation.

God heard Jonah. He listened to him, and indeed, He saved him. And there’s the kicker: When Jonah repented, God relented. When Jonah repented, God saved him. Thus, whether he realized or not (and it seems he did not, at least not right away), Jonah was a little walking, talking Nineveh. What God had done for him was the very thing He wanted to also do for Nineveh!

In His own genius way, God sent a prophet who had just been through his very own “from rebellion to repentance to salvation” experience to preach to a rebellious people that they could find salvation through repentance. Surely, eventually, this irony was not lost on Jonah.

As he picked himself up off the shore and headed to Nineveh, he must have been a little humbled at the thought that he had just benefited from the very graciousness of God which he was so reluctant to proclaim to his enemies, the very graciousness that had so frustrated him in the past. But I bet the graciousness didn’t seem quite as frustrating when Jonah was on the receiving end of it.

And therein lies the genius of God.

* * * * * * * * * *

If You just rescue me
from this unpalatable
just fish me out
of this hot water,
get me off the hook,
You can just bet
I will not only
be excessively
obliged but also
gladly go
wherever You
oblige me to
even if it means
that tour
to Nineveh.


Distress did it.
Not Easy Street.
Not Acrilon Avenue.
Not Prosperity Place
or Brightview Boulevard.
Not Fair Haven
or the Bay of Serenity
or the Island of Tranquility
but off-course winds
and the Straits of Adversity
and the tempests of disaster
that howled to Charybdis.
The deep was round about me.
Emergency exits were barred.
I was pitted against perdition.
In a ravenous cavity
I was swallowed up.
Better late than never
I remembered the Forgotten.
My troubles put me in touch.