Saturday, May 24, 2008

What's Your Favorite Bible Story?

A person once said to me that she thought everyone should think about what's their favorite Bible story. "Whatever it is," she said, "I'll guarantee you that it reveals something about the boundless love of God."

Well, I wondered about that. My favorite Bible story is Jonah, not only the running away from God and getting swallowed by the fish and sent back part, but the part where he actually does what God wants ... preach to the city of Nineveh. Jonah doesn't want to do it. He knows they'll repent. He knows God won't really destroy them, regardless of what Jonah tells them. He is angry that the city gets spared its just punishment and that God used him, Jonah, to spare those horrible Ninevites.
So he sits outside the city, watching it, KNOWING God won't destroy it. And he sulks under a bush that God causes to grow up in a day to give Jonah shade. Then the bush dies and Jonah sulks more. "Do you do well to be angry?" God asks Jonah. "Angry enough to die," Jonah seethes.

(This is the part I love, that you can be absolutely furious with God and God will just ask you ... "Do you do well to be angry?")

I had never thought about the boundless love of God part. But there it is, right at the end. God points out that Jonah cares about the bush, which he did not plant or help to grow, and which sprung up in the night and died in a day. And very gently and lovingly, God directs Jonah's attention to the city of Nineveh, filled with repentant people and all kinds of innocent bystanders, including its animals.

"And should I not care about Nineveh," God asks, "that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not yet know their right hand from their left, and many beasts as well?"

And that's how the book ends. "Should I not care?" God asks. Of course God should. The boundless love of God ... there it is again.

What's your favorite Bible story? I'll bet it reveals the boundless love of God.

+ Kit

1 comment:

  1. A translation I once read had this ending for the book of Jonah: "And what about all those cattle?" :)

    I think the long story of the man born blind is one of my favorites. In the midst of the swirling controversy about who healed him and whether or not it was a violation of something, the man focused on the gift he had been given and on worshiping the One he recognized as the Giver. I also like the realness of the dialogue: "He is of age; ask him!"

    I don't think I can label that THE favorite story, but it came to mind as one of a few favorites. At its center, it's very simple: Jesus heals, the man worships. And all around them, the storm brews. Jesus and the man are at the epicenter of that storm.