The captain went to him and said, “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.” 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. So they asked him, “Tell us, who is responsible for making all this trouble for us? What kind of work do you do? Where do you come from? What is your country? From what people are you?” Jonah 1:6-8 (NIV).
Do you know what makes this miraculous story believable to a skeptical world? The people’s reaction. When they panic, they look for someone to blame. Rather than accepting that it’s something beyond their control, they want to blame someone. They go as far as to (literally) roll the dice and try to let chance tell them who’s to blame.
Thousands of years after it happened, we’re the same. Take last week’s winter storm in Texas, where I live. It was REALLY unpleasant, but I was raised in the North, and winter storms happen every year. You know: in winter. But they don’t happen like that in the South, and when they do, they usually don’t take down the power grid, then the water lines, then the gas lines. Severe weather messes things up; it happens during the summertime, too. It shouldn’t surprise us when it happens during the winter.
But most of us weren’t prepared for it, especially when power was out for days for so many people. Immediately, folks (especially in the media, which thrives on crisis) started looking for someone or something to blame for our situation. It was the fault of the windmills that generate between ten and twenty percent of Texas’ power. It was the fault of the government, who squandered money (which is what governments do best). It was the fault of developers, who over-taxed a flimsy power grid. It was Ted Cruz. We must blame someone!
Now, let’s be real. No person is responsible for a freakish winter storm (not even Ted Cruz). We aren’t any more responsible than the men on Jonah’s boat. Yet when crisis hits us, we look for the exit door and try to get away. We should own that. Instead, we roll the dice and play the blame game just like those men on the boat.
Wouldn’t it be better to step back and ask what we can learn from the storm? Are we truly prepared? Where have we put ourselves in our relationship with Christ? Are we carrying baggage that we should cast overboard?
Before a real storm hits, maybe we should ask ourselves these questions.
For further reading: Jonah 1:9
Lord, forgive me for panicking. Help me to trust You.
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