I read through the book of Jonah today in my reading. The part that sticks out to me in the story is why Jonah ran in the first place. If you’ve never read the book for yourself, it’s very short. Take a few minutes today, and sit down and read it.
Jonah is told to go preach to another city, in another nation, to a different people. They are his political enemies. He says no, and runs. You know most of this part of the story. Big storm, sailors have to throw Jonah overboard, swallowed by big fish, fish throws up, Jonah preaches in Ninevah, people of Ninevah turn to God. If you’ve been around church for awhile, you’ve probably heard the story. Then at the end, God has to get on Jonah for being unhappy that the people repented.
But it just hit me today why. They were political enemies. Jonah says that he knew if he went, that God would forgive them because He is so good. Jonah doesn’t want the people forgiven. He hates them.
Who in my life would I be upset if God forgave? Who do I hate so much that I’d rather them suffer than seek God’s forgiveness? No, really, who would it be?
Because God is having none of it. He tells Jonah that they are his children, and he needs to get over it.
Is there someone that we would secretly like to see suffer? What will it take to see them through God’s eyes? To love them the way God does?
For Jonah, he had to go through a storm, be buried at sea, and then be digested by a fish for three days. Then, he only got 1/2 of it. God had to grow a miracle plant, then kill it, and the scold him.
And at the end of the story, it never tells us if Jonah got it or not. It’s open ended.
Just like your story and mine. It’s not done.
Will we get it? Will we offer forgiveness and mercy to those “others” in our life today?