Mercy

God Is Merciful: Reflections on 2020

I feel like I’m way out of sync. For me, 2020 was a year of unexpected blessing. Though some of what follows is probably in the category of self-indulgent (and boring) oversharing, I mostly mean it as an expression of thankfulness for undeserved mercies.

Work & Tech

In 2020, my work conditions improved a lot, as did the commute (home office!). At the same time, my work relationships—my connectedness to my peers—also improved, the reverse of what’s supposed to happen in a work-from-home dynamic.

I understand the “face to face is best,” bromide. It’s often true. In our case, our office already operated as a satellite of the main company facility pre-COVID, and all our involvement with company goings-on was remote. But it was awkward, low-tech., traditional remote. A single laptop and projector in one conference room connected with a similar set up out east. You couldn’t hear half the time. People laughed at jokes you missed. Meetings bred a sense of alienation rather than connection.

COVID pushed us all to Zoom and MS Teams and, just like that, we were interacting face to face. We could see and hear each person equally well—and be heard and seen equally well also. For us, Zoom meetings were a huge step forward in personal interaction.

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Common Grace: “...we are surrounded by beauty and good things that defy logic.”

"We begin our journey through grace with the way God shows his grace – his love and favour – towards all he has made. David explicitly highlights this facet of God’s dealings with all his creatures in Psalm 145, captured in the words, ‘The Lord is good to all, and his mercy is over all he has made’ (145.9)." - Ref 21

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Jonah: The Runaway Prophet

Jonah: a paradox

Jonah is “a paradox: a prophet of God, and yet a runaway from God: a man drowned, and yet alive: a preacher of repentance, yet one that repines at repentance.”1

In the early part of Joash’s reign, Jonah prophesied the restoration of Israel’s northern borders lost in wars with Syria and a time of prosperity and safety that would follow to rival the nation’s former greatness.2 However, in her prosperity, Israel became complacent and arrogant thinking that they alone were the people under the divine favor and no other nation was so esteemed (Amos 9:7) by the Living God (Amos 6:1-8).

Exasperated with Israel’s unfaithfulness, God sent prophets to declare judgment against Israel warning them that He would use the Assyrians, whose capital city was Nineveh—a feared nation known for its cold-blooded barbarity—to punish and expel Israel from the land because of her sins (Hos. 9:3, 10:6, 11:5; Joel 1:6,7; Amos 9:11). In this setting God called Jonah to preach judgment against “Nineveh the great city for their wickedness” (NASB, Jon. 1:2). However, Jonah decided to make a run for it in the direction opposite Nineveh.

Jonah: his love for God and Israel

Some commentators attribute Jonah’s action to moral faults in his character but such accusations are unwarranted and implicitly denied within the narrative.3 In addition, there is the idea Jonah ran away because he was afraid for his own safety should he confront the powerful and evil people of Nineveh.

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