Yesterday my oldest asked my why the story of Jonah ended so badly.
I proceeded to tell him the highlights of the story, explaining that along the whole way of Jonah’s experience, God kept showing him mercy, grace, and patience.
At first Jonah refused to obey at all.
Then, when he saw he had no choice (remember the whale?) he decide to obey, but his obedience was only on the outside. His heart was not in it. He was standing on the inside while sitting on the outside, as the saying goes.
He did as he was told to but afterward went into the desert to pout.
Now a man could die in the desert, so God provided shade for Jonah while he pouted. Then, a bug ate the plant that was shading him, so Jonah decided that he just wanted to die.
In conclusion, I explained that what God had planned for Jonah was not what Jonah thought he wanted.
Regardless of all the ways that God had taken care of Jonah, he refused to be happy with what God had for him.
I think I just found a little bit of Jonah in me.
My life is not what I planned. It is not what I had hoped and dreamed it would be when I was young. I have struggle greatly in being satisfied with where God has put me.
I guess like Jonah I will only be happy when I realize that God has taken care of me, been gracious to me and this is His plan for my life.
Or my story can end unhappy like Jonah’s. I can hold it against God that He didn’t do things my way and risk not being usable by Him for His work. Or force God to use me against my will as He did with Jonah. In the end, God’s plans will happen.
I can choose to spend my whole life angry and bitter if I want.
But, that is not what I want.
I don’t want to live my life angry at the King of the Universe that He didn’t do things my way.
So, I’m learning so surrender my circumstances to Him, to be happy wherever He puts me.
It’s not easy to die to myself, to sacrifice my dreams to Him.
But, it’s what I’m called to do.
It’s an illusion that I actually have any power over my circumstances. The only thing I truly have power over is how I react to where God has put me.
(From a blog post in 2009)