A long time ago, there lived in the town of Gath-hepher a little man called Jonah. On one fine day, the Lord spoke to him and said, “Up, on your feet and on your way to the big city of Nineveh! Preach to them. They’re in a bad way and I can’t ignore it any longer.” But for whatever reason, Jonah decided it wise to run away from the assignment and headed on to Tarshish.
This is a short account of everything that happened on his runaway voyage:
. . . But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, and there was a mighty tempest on the sea, so that the ship threatened to break up.
he was thrown overboard
. . . And the Lord appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah. And Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.
there he prayed to the Lord for help
. . . And the Lord spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon the dry land.
so he carried the message to Nineveh . . . but they heeded his warning, against his expectation
. . . When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil way, God relented of the disaster that he had said he would do to them, and he did not do it.
disappointed by God’s decision to forgive and not destroy them, Jonah was really mad
. . . Now the Lord God appointed a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.
he lies down in the shade of the plant and sleeps soundly
. . . But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered.
he’s still asleep and doesn’t notice his shade is gone until . . .
. . . When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint.
Now Jonah is fuming. How could such a precious plant die just like that?
. . . And the Lord said, “You pity the plant, for which you did not labour, nor did you make it grow, which came into being in a night and perished in a night. And should not I pity Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons who do not know their right hand from their left, and also much cattle?”
To all of us Jonahs, what has God appointed, good or bad, in our circumstances, to expose the state of our hearts?
What situation is the Lord using to teach us life lessons that will bring transformation if we will focus on the message it carries?
That circumstance or that experience may be allowed by the Lord, to draw our attention to the contents of our responses, and what our motives truly are.
Right now, as you are in that crisis or resting from toil, ask the Lord,
‘Have you APPOINTED this, too . . . and why?’