Jonah: Day 12

“For You, Yahweh, have done just as You pleased.

Jonah 1:14b (HCSB)

Many of us have a favourite Bible verse, a passage of Scripture to which we turn often. We have repeated and read it so many times that it is sealed forever in our hearts. For me that verse is Psalm 115:3: “Our God is in heaven and does whatever He pleases.” I love that verse. Our God is in heaven, He does whatever He wants. Our God is so strong that nothing can stop Him from doing what He wants. Our God is so clever that no scheme or strategy can outwit Him. Our God is so free that no chains and no burdens can ever constrain Him. Nothing and no one can interfere with God. Even Satan could be crushed to oblivion in the blink of an eye and forever ended—Satan can only do as he does because God chooses to loosen the leash around his neck a little.

As humans we like to think that everything revolves around us and our choices. That is a great lie. God does as He pleases. What would be the point in praying for a friend to become a Christian if God didn’t have the power to take their heart of stone and turn it into a heart of flesh that beats for His glory? So often we pray as if the level of our prayer determined the outcome. If someone dies or something bad happens, we blame ourselves or others for not praying ‘hard enough.’ That is a belief in a disgustingly small God.

God doesn’t need our permission to do anything. God doesn’t have to wait for a certain number of people to pray before He can act! God doesn’t have to wait for a certain eagerness or level of belief or amount of effort to be exceeded in our prayers before He is free to answer our prayers—that is blasphemy. God is in heaven; God is seated on His throne. God does whatever He wants, whenever He wants, however He wants. Whatever happens in our lives, whatever happens in the world–from the greatest disaster to a hair falling from your head–it only happens because God allows it, because He chooses to let it. Why do these things happen? We do not always know. The thoughts of God are higher than our thoughts, and His ways beyond our ways (Isaiah 55:8-9). But if we believe, as I do, that God is good, that God is love, that God is Holy, that God is just: then whatever happens, we can say with the sailors on the boat “You, Yahweh, have done just as You pleased.” We can rest. I love Psalm 115:3!

  • Adam Young is Associate Minister at All Saints' Church in North Ferriby, England, and Padre to the Yorkshire North & West Army Cadet Force. He has a Master in Applied Theology from Oxford University. In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting, trail running, painting miniatures, and reading theology.