“Does God have different levels of compassion for children based on their geographic location, their nationality, their race – or their parents’ income level? Does he forget their pain because He is preoccupied with other things? Does He turn the offending page to read the sports section or is His heart broken because each child is precious to Him? Every one of these children is His child – not somebody else’s.” Richard Stearns, President of World Vision.
Not many of us have been immune to the story of Jonah. A prophet who bided some time, twiddling his thumbs in the belly of a great fish. Eventually vomited up on the shore and sent back on his way to do what God had asked him the first time. Sometimes, God has a distinct impossible way of making His point
Often the next part of Jonah’s story is overlooked and this is where God makes another one of those impossibilities happen to drive home a point.
When Jonah sees that God decided to spare the innocent and changed of Nineveh, Jonah has a temper tantrum. It almost seems as though he mocks God for showing compassion and then dramatically exits the city and flops outside saying, “I would rather die.”
God creates a great vine to grow automatically to cover Jonah and Jonah is pleased. Then God takes it away and Jonah goes back into dramatics. God takes this moment to share with Jonah His Spirit. The Spirit that doesn’t punish the innocent, the part of God when His heart is broken when He sees His children.
Jonah’s point was based on the city and that it deserved God’s wrath. In fact, he did just about everything he could to get away from having to even go there. He certainly had a disposition of “This is not my problem. This isn’t even my backyard.
How often do we hear news about people who aren’t in our own backyard that are in desperate need? How often do we choose to look the other way, even when we know it is the innocent that are suffering.
One of the points that the story of Jonah teaches us is that God’s heart is broken and ours should be too. We should follow his example of compassion to all, not to just who is convenient to us.
Hope Springs is looking to change the next generation in Chad, a generation that is helpless to do anything about where they are and their circumstance; lacking knowledge, opportunity and without a clue about a God who loves them deeply. When we look at Chad, we see the ability to be God’s hands, feet and heart. To be ambassadors and representatives of God’s compassion and greatness.
“Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, suffering, and injustice when He could do something about it.”
“Well, why don’t you just ask Him?”
“Because I am afraid He would ask me the same question.” Anonymous
This sounds like something Jonah might have been saying. Is it something that you have heard in your own heart when you look across your backyard and across continents in need?
“He defended the cause of the poor and needy, and so all went well. Is that not what it means to know me? Jeremiah 22:16.
Hope Springs International is excited to welcome Alycia Adams Neighbors to our volunteer staff. Alycia is a prolific writer and Christian mother. She and her husband Brian have seven children and live in Hendersonville, Tennessee.