I Am Jonah…Hear Me Whine

I have been reading the book of Jonah in my devotions this week, and I must say that when I got to the part where he started running from God I really started in on him in my mind.  “What a fool!” I thought to myself.  Why would he run from God?  Doesn’t he know how powerful God is?  Doesn’t he know that God’s ways are higher than his ways?  Doesn’t he understand that he really can’t run from God anyway?  Then I got to the part where the people of Nineveh repent from their wickedness and Jonah starts complaining about God’s mercy.  “Wow!”  I thought – that is pretty bold!  I mean just a short time before this Jonah was in the belly of a great fish praying that God would have mercy on him and that the fish would find him distasteful.  So what does Jonah want?  Does he want God to be a merciful God or not?  Then after God spares Nineveh Jonah sits down and pouts because he didn’t want God to show mercy.  He finds his only comfort in a plant that provides shade, but an aggressive worm with a big appetite destroys the plant and leaves Jonah exposed to the hot sun.  So what does Jonah do?  He whines, big time!  Jonah didn’t like the assignment that he got from God, so he ran.  When running didn’t work, he reluctantly obeyed.  And when God didn’t see things Jonah’s way, Jonah complained and moped around showing everyone how horrible his life was because God didn’t do what he wanted him to do.  And that’s when it hit me…I AM JONAH – minus all the seaweed!  That was a horrible realization.  I want God to want what I want, when I want it, and how I want it.  I am full of delightful service as long as God works in ways that I think he should work.  But what about those times that he shows mercy to people I don’t like (Yes, pastors struggle with liking everyone)?  What about those times that he gives me an assignment that goes against the grain of my desires?  What about when God asks me to do something difficult that I do not understand?  That is when I am tempted to either run or pout because I did not get my way.  I have done my fair share of whining – and I have a pretty good whiny voice.  But I don’t want to be a Jonah!  I want to be a servant of God who does the will of God no matter what.  Philippians 2:14 – Do all things without complaining and disputing.  God help me to put away my whiny voice when you decide not to do things my way.  Help me to trust you and do your will even when it does not make sense to me.  I don’t want to be a Jonah…I don’t even care for fish!

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