I had a moment as I was reading my USA Today online, watching Good Morning America, checking my husband’s essay, and enjoying my morning coffee. The USA Today article was titled “Secret Service Scandal Still Unfolding.” My husband’s essay was titled, “Are Women More Moral Than Men.” And I was enjoying my morning coffee because I was not selected to serve on the “Aggravated Sexual Assault” jury. (That is twice now!) Do you ever just shake your head and wonder what is going on with the men in our society? But what about the women? The lead story on the news today was about a woman whose newborn baby was snatched from her in the parking lot of a pediatrician’s office. The mother was shot by a woman who wanted her baby. The baby is safe, but will never know its mother. She died trying to save her baby. It is a beautiful, spring morning – but for me, the clouds are gathering. Sometimes I watch the natural events on the news, like the earthquakes, tornadoes and droughts, and ask Jim, “Do you think God is shouting?”
The Secret Service Scandal is about the “possible breach in security” that occurred when several agents brought prostitutes to their hotel rooms. Not one report that I have read even mentions a possible breach in morality. Were any of those guys married, with kids? What about a possible breach in their marriage vows or the obvious breach in their personal integrity? Maybe women are more moral than men. Let’s face it – after 16 hours with small children, carpool lines, laundry and work – who has the energy? If we want men to be more moral, let’s give them the bulk of the childcare! The defense team was interviewing my room of “potential jurors” to see if we might have any prejudice towards the defendant. I think I may have been excused when they asked the question about whether or not we could consider a mistaken identity defense. The guy was probably 6’6″, and massive with muscles. My thought was, there aren’t very many guys that I could mistake this one for! Jim has often said that my face is an “open book.” It isn’t hard to know what I’m thinking. My answer to the lawyer’s question was, “I would do my best to try” – but I think my face bought me my exit papers.
Why is God allowing the decay of our culture? I think the answer is found in the book of Jonah. Jonah, Chapter One. God tells Jonah to go to Nineveh, one of the worst cities in the world at that time. Jonah hops on a boat headed in the opposite direction of Nineveh. Chapter Two. Jonah, sitting in the belly of a fish, realizes that if God told him to do something, it wasn’t an option to consider. Jonah chapter 3. Jonah goes to Nineveh and tells them what God is going to do to their city because of their sin. But the Ninevites repent and God forgives them, instead of punishing. Jonah chapter four. Jonah sulks and pouts under a bush because God didn’t “keep his end of the bargain.” Their conversation: Jonah 4:1-4: ” But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”
Is it right for us to be angry at what God is allowing in our world? The short answer is “no”. Look at the way Jonah describes God’s character. God is incapable of imperfection. If God allows something or brings it to pass – He is perfectly right and perfectly loving. Is God shouting? I know I am . . . but God is so much better at running this world than we think. He is perfect at it. So, while I don’t always understand the things that are going on, I know that God, in his perfection, is allowing it for a reason. And one day, when we see him face to face, we can ask him about why he did what he did. But we probably won’t. Immorality won’t matter in heaven, because it won’t exist there. Crimes won’t make us angry because there won’t be any. In the meantime, we can sit under a bush like Jonah, mad at the world – or we can obey Jesus’ command to get out there and be “the light of the world” (Matthew 5:16). Smile at someone today, hold the door for someone whose arms are full, offer grace to people who don’t deserve it – and find a way to let them know, you are who you are – because of Jesus. There is more bad news to come – but Jesus said, “preach the gospel (good news) wherever you go” (Mark 16:15).
Jonah or Jesus? I choose Jesus.