By Logan Vlandis
The aspiration of man is to understand who the Lord is and to embrace that reality. It is a process that satisfies the soul and will continue on forever.
The chief way to understand the Lord is to know His Word. This goes beyond reading a chapter of the Bible a day; knowing the Scripture is about ruminating, meditating, and reflecting on the principles it reveals about the Lord. If this sounds irritating, check your priorities. There is no greater pursuit on this side of life than to know, love, and mimic who God is.
The book of Jonah provides wonderful knowledge about the character of God. In chapter 1, verse 9, Jonah answers the ship’s sailors when they ask him who he is, where he is from, and what he had done to cause a nightmare of a storm to torment the ship.
Jonah replied, “I am a Hebrew and I worship Yahweh, the God of the heavens, who made the sea and the dry land” (1:9).
Jonah had also told them that he was running away from Yahweh, his Lord
Jonah’s reply is completely tailored to the situation he was in, and he utilized it to reveal the Lord’s character. You would realize this only if you thought about the passages and put yourself on the deck of the ship. Jonah identifies his Lord as the one who, “made the sea and the dry land.” What was tormenting the crew? The sea. What was the most desirable thing to the crew at that time? The land.
Yahweh is the Lord of the suffering and the rest. Jonah purposefully used the surrounding circumstance that everyone was keenly aware of to describe the Lord’s authority and sovereignty. God is not a God to be admired only during the harmony; He is a God to be worshiped and clung to, regardless of the circumstance.
Jonah was experiencing discipline so that he would conform to God’s will. As New Covenant believers, we know that we, as God’s children, will also experience discipline so as to “share in His holiness” (Heb. 12:7-10).
All of reality – every detail and episode of your life – is submitted to God’s authority. We can choose the path of misery by despising hardship and neglecting relationship and intimacy with God, or we can choose the path of life by understanding that the Lord is the God of the rest and unrest. Our tangible hope is in accepting reality’s submission to God, understanding God’s character, and having our confidence placed in the rich spiritual realities of the sanctifying ability of trials and the promise of eternity.
Logan Vlandis is a junior at Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia, and is studying business communications and project management. He grew up in a family professing the Christian faith and began investigating more closely how the Christian worldview answered life’s ultimate questions of origin, meaning, and morality his freshman year of college. Since then, he has studied the works of thinkers like Ravi Zacharias, David Berlinski, William Lane Craig, John Lenox, and C.S. Lewis. In his free time, Logan enjoys fitness, reading, eating meals with friends, and wondering what the difference between soup and cereal really is.
Photograph taken by Markus Spiske