What’s bugging you?

jonah-and-the-gourd-vine“The sun beat down on Jonah’s head until he grew faint and wished to die. ‘Death is certainly better than living like this!’ he exclaimed.” (Jonah 4:8)

Jonah was so disappointed that he wanted to die. Life had not gone according to plan.

What pushed Jonah over the edge?  A shade tree!

The large plant he was enjoying for shelter from the scorching sun suddenly died. That’s it! Nothing more. But it was the last straw for Jonah. He was tired of life being beyond his control and not going his own way.

Those little things, like the dying plant, can add up, right?

Jesus helps us counter the little things by urging us to live in each moment. He says, “Today’s evil is enough for today.” (Matthew 6:34) He is encouraging us to not let the evils of yesterday or worries about tomorrow accumulate.

Jesus also gives us the following prayer to pray that keeps us fresh for today. “Our Father in heaven, may your name be kept holy. May your Kingdom come soon. May your will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us today the food we need, and forgive us our sins, as we have forgiven those who sin against us. And don’t let us yield to temptation, but rescue us from the evil one.” (Matthew 6:9–13)

Jesus reminds us  that the devil wants us to die. He calls him a murderer and a liar, saying, “the devil…was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” (John 8:44)

This “father of lies” persistently tries with little things and little lies. He wants us convinced that dying prematurity is a desirable notion, our own idea and the best one.

But those are lies.  Like me, you’ve probably heard stories of those who have wanted to die, and even tried to take their own life, but failed. The gun didn’t fire or the pills didn’t work, and so on. Those who told me such stories have always said they are glad they are still alive.

Jonah gives us hope. Yes, Jonah is negative; but God never quits caring for him. He doesn’t punish Jonah. Instead he reasons with him as he does with us today.

“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)

Jonah doesn’t respond and that’s how the book of Jonah ends. It’s not neat, tidy and wrapped in a pretty ribbon. It does let us see that God is still trying to reason with Jonah.

God’s love is actively seeking to save those who are lost. Whoever will call upon the name of the Lord will be saved. Thank you, Lord, seeking to make us whole.

“Giv’m heaven!”—John Parker

John Parker serves with Connections Simple Church of Chowchilla meeting 10 AM Sundays at Carty Center, 609 W. Robertson Blvd. Learn more at: www.simplechurchsuccess.com or contact John at (209) 564-7201

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