Sunday, May 28, 2006
I thought of Jonah today. Jonah and the conversation he had with God after Jonah had finally put himself out on a limb and preached the message of destruction that God had given him, and then God changed His mind and spared Ninevah.
Putting oneself on the line is always a risky business. So often, we. . . I have one idea about what results to expect, and God has another idea in mind. He accomplishes HIS purposes when I'm left in the dark wondering who turned the lights out.
(The official PJDH version of Jonah's confrontation with God. )
Jonah complains, "Hey God. Didn't I tell you this would happen? You know how you are. You can't follow through on anything. You're way too soft-hearted. You could have just let me run away to Tarshish or better yet, why not leave me alone in the first place? Huh? Why don't you go away and just let me die?
And God said, "Don't sweat the small stuff."
So Jonah went out on the hillside, tried to make some shade and waited with only a little glee to see if any of his dire predictions would come true.
Then suddenly a vine grew up and provided great shady cover from the hot sun. And for the first time since God had given him his marching orders, Jonah got a good night's sleep. No gaseous stuff from the whale's belly; no ship tossing in the storm; and no racing through Ninevah yelling like he'd done for the last three days. Nice shade. A good view.
Suddenly Jonah is awakened by a burning sensation. "Hey God! What gives? This vine is shriveled; look a perfectly good vine is going to waste because of that nasty little worm. The sun is so hot I'm about to have an asthma attack; I'm gonna faint. I think I'll just die here!
And God says, "What do you have to be mad about?"
"Plenty!" spouts Jonah.
"You didn't grow the vine that you're so concerned about. You didn't even water it. There are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people in Ninevah. I'm worried about them."
The scriptural record stops there, but I can hear Jonah sputtering.
"It's a horse of a different color. They didn't leave a perfectly good place to ride on a flee-bitten bark only to be tossed into a stormy sea. They didn't spend three nights in the deep in the digestive track of a fish. You're comparing apples and oranges. They. . . . . .A hundred and twenty thousand did you say? You da man. But it sure would have been one big scene of destruction to watch. And what am I to say when I'm accused of delivering a false word, anyway?"
A really big Silence from on high.
Jonah's last word, "Trust you? Implicitly?" Sigh.