In A Sulk with God
My God, I don’t always understand Your ways, but I pray for faith to trust that they are always good.
Read Jonah 4:1-11
 But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry.  He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity.  Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”  But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?”  Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city.  Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant.  But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered.  When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.”  But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.”  But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.  And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left-and also many animals?” Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
ReflectHow did the Lord show his great compassion here?
Even after the most successful mission in history, Jonah is not satisfied because he still hasn’t resolved his underlying issues with God. At least this time he communicates his problem rather than ignoring God (2). Whatever our issue with God–doubt, anger, disappointment–prayer is the first step towards resolving it. Jonah is uncomfortable with the God he serves (2). He wants a God of fixed boundaries who punishes evil, who has favorites, and who fits his expectations. God is too good to allow this so he uses Jonah’s circumstances and even physical discomfort (7,8) to challenge Jonah’s attitude (4,9,11) and help Jonah grow in his understanding of, and appreciation for, God’s love and grace (11). Notice how patient and compassionate God is with Jonah (6), even when Jonah sulks (3,5,8,9)! We don’t know whether Jonah remained self-absorbed (3,8) or whether he began to see life from God’s perspective (11). We can be sure that the God who pursued Jonah to the ocean floor, who put up with Jonah’s anger, is a God who wants a relationship with us and will not give up on it, or on us.
Do you have any “issues” (anger, disappointment, doubt, etc.) with God? If so, being them honestly to him now.
Good Lord, may I have more of Your great love and compassion, especially for those who don’t yet know You.
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