Our church has been working our way through the Book of Jonah. I’ve written a fair amount about Jonah, here, and here, for example, because he’s one of my favorites. The pastor made a lovely point about the difference between “believing in God” and believing God.
There really is a huge difference and I kind of caught my breath when he said that, because that is precisely what the book of Jonah once taught me. A whole bunch of us will believe in God, but do we actually believe God? Do we believe what He says? Do we believe His promises? Do we trust in Him? Do we trust that He is good? Trust can be really hard! To believe in someone isn’t just to acknowledge that they exist, it is also to have faith in them, to believe that what they say is true, to trust in them.
And to then act accordingly! We people can be notorious for saying one thing but doing another, behaving in a manner that demonstrates we don’t actually “believe” at all.
When Jonah bails and jumps ship, that’s pretty much a no confidence vote. God basically wants to save Jonah’s enemies and Jonah can’t or won’t trust that God knows what He is doing. Been there and done that myself, most of my life. I’ve spent a lot of time looking out at the shipping lanes and dreaming of just hopping into a shipping container and fleeing, much like Jonah did. Ha! In my defense it’s not always so easy to see the goodness of God in our circumstances, or even in the people around us. That is no fault of God’s of course, but rather just part of the adventure of having a relationship with Him.