I’m on heightened alert these days. Reading the NT in the Message, fasting from seven foods (dairy, gluten, soy, peanuts, sugar, corn, eggs), and doing a Beth Moore Bible study have all upped the anty, shall we say.
And yesterday I plummeted off a cliff into an imagined icy luxury hotel where self-indulgence has its way. The bag of chips are gone. (And no, it didn’t make me feel any better.) Today I awoke, still out of sorts, ready for the funky mood and wrestling with God over specific issues to end. Which of course meant I needed to relinquish my rights.
It all sounds a bit elusive, but the point is I went for a walk in a woods this morning. In my usual fashion I was walking, wrestling, venting and asking God to pull me out of the tailspin. At one point I paused and looked up. I was underneath a maple tree and the translucent, green leaves provided adequate shade from an ever increasingly intense sun.
Jonah came to mind and nothing was fishy about it at all. No, after he delivered God’s message to Ninevah, he went out of town and set up under a shelter to await the doom and destruction of the city. God caused a tree to grow up and shade him, which made Jonah happy. Then God caused the plant to die and a hot wind to blow in and nearly scorch Jonah to death, which made Jonah angry.
All of this was due to Jonah’s anger over God’s mercy and compassion shown to Ninevah. Spoiler alert: God doesn’t destroy the city, the people repent. Jonah missed God’s blessing because of anger in his heart. Or seen another way, God’s blessing went away because of anger in Jonah’s heart over God matters, over how God operates.
How often am I angry over how God operates? What blessings disappear before my eyes when I am too busy comparing my life to others?
I walked on. I came around a bend on the trail and there was an extraordinary plant. White and translucent, with leaves and buds intact. It was completely by itself. I’ve never seen the likes of it before.
God can do what He wants to do, when he wants to do it.
God intimately works in mysterious ways, searching for those willing to see and crave more of His Spirit.
What does Jonah’s story speak to you?