The harsh desert wind blew sand across his cheek. It was rough, and scraped across his skin.
Instead of sitting there and taking the beating, Jonah stood, grabbed two fistfuls of the rocky sand, and threw it back at the one who told the wind to blow.
The voice of God spoke to him then. "Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?"
"Yes," he replied without hesitation. "Even angry enough to die!" The plant had shielded him from the harsh sun and dry wind. It was his saving grace.
But God wasn't going to let the matter rest. "You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?"
Jonah spit the sand out of his mouth. God loved those people. For some reason he loved those lying sinners. He forgave them for all the trouble they had caused. In a lot of ways, he was no better. He knew that. He knew he had sinned, and yes, God had forgiven him.
God was asking him to forgive the people of Nineveh, like he had forgiven Jonah.
Based on Jonah 4:9-11
"Then God said to Jonah, 'Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died?' 'Yes,' Jonah retorted, 'even angry enough to die!' Then the Lord said, 'You feel sorry about the plant, though you did nothing to put it there. It came quickly and died quickly. But Nineveh has more than 120,000 people living in spiritual darkness, not to mention all the animals. Shouldn’t I feel sorry for such a great city?'" Jonah 4:9-11
Do you have people in your life that drive you absolutely crazy? People that make you want to scream and do something violent that a good and proper Christian wouldn't do? People that say, "Yes, Lord," and then do the exact opposite? People that anger you to the very core of your being?
Of course you do. We all do. For Jonah, those people were the people of Nineveh. They drove him absolutely crazy. The very mention of them made him livid. They lived a life of sin, and Jonah wanted them to reap the consequences of that sin. It was only logical.
The thing Jonah didn't understand, or was missing, or even ignoring was that God loved them, too. He did. Despite all the lies, sin, and manipulation He still loved those people.
Every time one of my annoying people makes me want to put my fist through the wall due to their double standards, I have to remind myself - or rather the Holy Spirit reminds me - God still loves them. He says, "I still love them. I still died for them. If they turn back to Me, I will still welcome them in the family."
"But will you?"
What a horrible question for God to have to ask me, and one that, a lot of the time, I answer begrudgingly.
God loves those people. Even when I don't. But in order to be like God, shouldn't I try to love them like He does? Not excusing or ignoring the sin, but looking past it when they come to Him in repentance.
Yeah, we all know the answer to that.
V. Joy Palmer