There are occasions when progress demands a change in perspective. For some time, I’ve been traveling a rough road, a journey fraught with danger and threats, surprises, elements beyond my control…you get the picture. Working harder, working smarter, not working, it doesn’t seem to matter what I try, I’m stuck in a quagmire of unpleasant circumstances and I can’t break free.
I’ve found comfort in the words of the Psalms;I’m reassured to know I’m not the first to struggle with life’s perils while trying to stay on a righteous path, confronted with wickedness. I’ve prayed for escape, for grace, for forgiveness, for God’s intervention, and yet, I can’t seem to find relief. I’ve made peace with the possibility that I need further refining, in situ. I trust that God’s got a plan and His plan requires me to stay right where I am.
Then, last week, during my morning Bible study, I had a revelation. A revelation only made possible because I was seeking direction, looking for answers, immersed in the Word. I read two passages, from Ezekiel 33 and Romans 13, that came together and created light in the darkness. This week, two more passages came to mind, from Genesis 18 and the story of Jonah.
Here’s how it comes together for me: Back in the day, Abraham negotiated with God for the salvation of the righteous inhabitants of Sodom, for those who deserved life to be spared from the destruction of the wicked. Abraham’s life was not in danger, but his nephew, Lot, a righteous man, lived in Sodom. Upon hearing of God’s plans for eradicating the evil in the neighboring towns of Sodom and Gomorrah, Abraham felt compelled to speak up in appeal. Unfortunately, the wicked were unrepentant and the cities were destroyed.
When God called Jonah to tell the people of Nineveh of their pending destruction, due to their pervasive wickedness, Jonah ran away. He went to sea, spent time in the belly of a whale, and eventually, reluctantly, obeyed God’s call. In this instance, the people of Nineveh turned from their evil ways and were spared by God’s compassion.
God puts people into positions of authority, according to His will. We are to respect authority; authority established by God comes with responsibility. God tells Ezekiel of the watchman’s responsibilities: when the watchman is made aware of imminent danger, he must sound the alarm that offers opportunity for salvation. If the watchman gives the alert and people ignore the warning, their fate is their responsibility. If the watchman sees the danger but doesn’t give the alert, he is accountable for their fate.
And for myself? In my current employment situation, I am in a position of authority. In today’s business climate, my team’s performance is critical for our ongoing existence. We must demonstrate our contribution to the corporate bottom line if we are to survive. I am aware of the danger, and have sounded the alarm. I am astounded by the behavior of some members of the team. But, given scriptural accounts, I shouldn’t be surprised. Sometimes people are determined to maintain their wicked ways, despite all warnings.
May God’s will be done. The righteous and the wicked remain in my prayers.
For more thoughts on this, go here.