November 10 I Wednesday
“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.” —Jonah 4:5
What do we do when we are angry with God? In response to God’s question to Jonah, asking, “Is it right for you to be angry?” (Jonah 4:4), Jonah left Nineveh by going east outside the city, building himself a temporary shelter and waiting to see what would happen next to the city.
What was Jonah doing there? Did he need a quiet space to engage and ponder God’s question? Sometimes, moving out of an environment can help us when we are feeling frustrated, angry or upset, and help us refocus our thoughts. But from Jonah’s track record, he was probably disengaging from God by moving away. He was greatly displeased with God; in fact, he even told God that he did not want to be involved with going to Nineveh to preach from the beginning.
When Jonah was first called to Nineveh, he was disobedient by running away, because He knew God’s gracious and compassionate character would cause the Ninevites to repent from their ways. Yet, God used a turn of circumstances to bring Jonah into obedience. Now, Jonah’s anger made him leave Nineveh. But what if he stayed in the city where God was at work, loving the people and not letting his discomfort cause him to disengage? Would Jonah have learned to love the Ninevites like God did? Would he have realized that just as he was a work in progress, that the Ninevites were too, and they could join together to learn and grow in God?
God provided a plant to shade Jonah, which pleased Jonah greatly. But the very next day, God provided a worm that chewed through the plant so it withered and Jonah got sunburned from the scorching sun. At this, Jonah reiterated to God, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” God responded to Jonah with a question, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” (Jonah 4:9). Even in Jonah’s resistance, God was relentless in His pursuit of Jonah and getting him to correct his behaviours and the roots of his beliefs, blind spots and biases. God acted quickly with urgency and did not let Jonah stay in his feelings too long. He orchestrated a series of events curated just for Jonah. These moments, that only God could do, pushed Jonah to see his incorrect beliefs, blind spots and biases.
In His love, what is God orchestrating and curating for us in order to get our attention?
Prayer: Dear God, thank You for graciously curating events to get my attention so that You can correct my beliefs, blind spots and biases. Praise You!