Links Daily Devotional

‘Is It I?’

Then the sailors said to each other, “Come, let us cast lots to find out who is responsible for this calamity.” They cast lots and the lot fell on Jonah. (Jonah 1:7, NIV)

Highlights from a recent round:

First hole – drive into trees, punch out, hole 20-footer. Par.
Second hole – drive clips trees, 190-yard approach over a tree onto fringe. Par.
Third hole – chunked tee shot 30 yards short of green, flop shot close. Par.

Seventh hole – perfect 5-iron right over flag, three putts. Bogey.
Eighth hole – well-struck drive, 9-iron in, hit bunker lip. Bogey.
Tenth hole – drive splits fairway, approach on green, three putts. Bogey.

Do you see it? There is in golf—and in life—no certain connection between actions and their rewards or consequences. Sin is enacted on two planes, an earthly one and a spiritual one. We may pay heavily for our sins on earth but not at all in eternity as people forgiven by Christ; conversely, the wicked may be “rewarded” for their transgressions on earth but pay eternally for never surrendering to God. It’s a dilemma that has confounded patriarchs, poets, prophets and philosophers for ages. If you think you’ve got a beef with God, get in line.

But here’s something you may be reticent to copy: the people of old were quick to look for faults in themselves when their lives went wrong. Athletes today may speak of being their own toughest critics, but I’ve never heard one of them say, “My game is terrible right now. I can’t get a putt to go in the hole and I haven’t made a cut in weeks. Perhaps there is some unresolved sin in my life for which God is judging me.” They wouldn’t say that and neither would we!

Is it possible, though, that we’re missing the obvious? Is it true that we’re unwilling to make an honest assessment of our lives?

Jonah was not the only culpable one uncovered by disastrous consequences for unrighteous actions. Pharaoh paid the price when Abram’s wife Sarai posed as his “sister” in the ruler’s household. Venomous snakes attacked the people in the wilderness because they would not cease their grumbling. The Israelites were routed at Ai because Achan had hoarded loot from the victory at Jericho.

We don’t do well taking the blame. We’ll speak of tough times as an “attack of the enemy” or a “test from the Lord.” But maybe we need to ask of the Lord, “Is it I? Is there something I have done that has led to all this trouble? Show me, Father, if I have been wrong that I might repent and make a fresh go of it on the wings of your mercy.”

Jeff Hopper

May 22, 2013

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