Summary: We get mad at God...when things get fouled up.. how can we then overcome it and be changed and challenged.
When Things Don’t Go According to Plan
By Andrew Chan, Pilgrim Baptist Church, Vancouver, BC
Text: Jonah 4
May 27, 2001
When Things Don’t Go According to Plan there is trouble. Talk to the business man who blows up because the plane he is supposed to be on is canceled or overbooked. Talk to the salesperson who can’t make the quota for sales for the day. Talk to the man who blew up in the middle of grocery store when a little old lady rolled her eyes because his two kids cannot control themselves and are bothering everyone in the store. Talk to yourself when things just don’t go your own way… u know what I mean. But since when do things always go to plan? I don’t think when Ujjal took office as Premier of BC he planned to lose the recent elections. I don’t think the bride and groom in Israel plan to have the floor they and their guests are dancing on to suddenly collapse. I don’t think anyone plans to have things go wrong, they want it to be just perfect.
And for Jonah, it would be just perfect if the Ninevites that he tried to run away from were all struck dead by God. It would just be perfect if God would wreak vengeance on that bunch of no-good tormenters of Israel, for they have treated Jonah’s people badly. They have slaughtered them and made life hell. He wanted payback. And that is what he preached “40 more days and Nineveh is toast!” (3:4). Notice his message was totally negative and with no good news. He knows God is angry with them, and he wants just desserts for them. That Jonah is angry, goes without saying… but the Ninevites responded to God, they believed God and repented with all seriousness with prayer, fasting, sackcloth and dust (3:5) and when God saw what they did and they had turned from their evil ways, God had compassion and did destroy them (3:10). Mercy triumphs over judgment! Awesome grace of God was beautifully displayed. And we know that yes, God is angry, He is horrified by sin, yet He will graciously forgive if anyone will turn and plead for mercy. That has always been the case and will always be the case… Awesome God! So God was no longer angry at Nineveh. But someone else in story remained angry, Jonah… flew into a rage
Here he is the one who knows personally the grace of God. He had just been rescued from his own grave and even said “salvation comes from the Lord” yet he couldn’t really stomach what he confessed. That salvation really comes from God. He was LIVID at God… I wonder if we are like that…?
David Wilkerson once noted in a message he delivered: “I believe there is nothing more dangerous to a Christian than to carry a resentment against God. Yet I am shocked by the growing number of believers I meet who are peeved at the Lord. They may not admit as much-but deep inside, they hold some kind of grudge against him. Why? They believe he’s not interested in their lives or problems! They’re convinced he doesn’t care – because he hasn’t answered a particular prayer or acted on their behalf.”
In a letter dated Oct. 18, 1989 a father wrote his preacher son: “When Arlyle was dying, we all prayed till we were blue in the face. Even you kids prayed. Maybe God doesn’t listen to the prayers of sinful adults, but He should have at least heard the cries of you kids. Instead, you kids were left motherless and that set in motion a rather unfortunate history you yourself know only too well. If God had been personally concerned about us, Greg, He’d have spared your mother and spared all of us a tremendous amount of pain.” (Greg and Edward Boyd in Letters From a Skeptic)