Yesterday for school we did a little study on Jonah. He was something else, man. He refused to obey, tried to run from God, only obeyed after a totally crazy miracle, then got mad and dared to 'I-told-you-so' to God, threw a fit about God's compassion--even though without it he wouldn't have had the breath to complain--and cried over the death of a plant while burning with a lust to watch thousands of people die. Quite a guy, right? But he was God's prophet.
Is he really all that different than I am--or you are? Do I have a leg to stand on when I judge him? I don't think so. I am prideful and lazy. I like my plans better than God's and too frequently lose focus on the big picture.
But this is how it is with so many of the special people we read about in the Bible. Abram was a lying frady-cat. Moses had a 'who, me?' attitude when God asked him to serve. We all know about David committing adultery, then murder to try to cover it up. Paul, well... Jesus asked Paul why was Paul persecuting Him. Woah!
So, it is pretty well established that God chooses flawed people--as if He had any other choice. Does He make seemingly arbitrary decisions, plucking out unlikely servants for reasons beyond our discernment? I am not so sure about that. If He doesn't (or can't) choose wholly righteous people, who does He choose and why? What is so special about them?
I think that God chooses honest people. I know Abram lied about his wife being his sister, and the charade David tried to pull off could hardly be called honorable or virtuous, but something that distinguished these guys is how transparent they are with God. It is really kind of silly to be anything but perfectly straightforward with an all-knowing, ever-present Creator, but we do it all the time.
We prefer to hide some things from our Lord--or like to think that we can hide. We reserve, mask, sneak, fake and pretend. We might try to be more high-sounding or defensive and call it something like compartmentalizing. No matter what we call it, the bottom line is that we are not fully ourselves with our Lord and Savior. The reasons vary widely. Sometimes I feel He is so holy that doesn't want to see the ugly part of me, or (most often for me) I got myself into this mess, so I will have to fix it myself.
Frankly, I am having a hard time coming up with good excuses or analogies, because it is all bunk anyhow. He knows. He cares. And we can't fix much of anything on our own. That brings me back to my point. These flawed men had lots of problems, but they held nothing from God. They got impatient, scared, indignant, prideful and any other unacceptable attitude you can name. And what did they do with that? They poured it all out to God.
I imagine this has to be pretty refreshing for God. It isn't like He doesn't already know what we are thinking. But when we withhold our ugly thoughts and feelings from Him, we own them and store them up like treasure. Only by handing them over to Him will we ever be free. And that is what so many of His chosen people seem to have in common. In the end, they bring it all to Him and don't bother dressing up the ugly to make it acceptable. They just are who they are, fully.
The cool thing about this type of behavior is that it is a most excellent way of worshiping and praising God. The very act of honest expression conveys trust, love and an acknowledgement of the character of God. The notion of doing anything else is really rather insulting. Like He doesn't already know, you know?
Anyhow, if I am right, this is pretty good news for me. I want to be chosen and since I literally can't pull off righteousness to save my life, now all I have to do is bare it all.