This past week, a couple of the weekday readings were from the Book of Jonah.
Twice God asks Jonah to go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim in 40 days the city would be destroyed.
The first time God calls, Jonah runs and gets on a ship hoping to get away from God’s call. The second time, Jonah goes, and proclaims God’s message.
Although it took three days to walk through Nineveh, Jonah had only begun on his first days walk when the people believed and started to repent.
The people repent and God also relents from doing what he had intended.
This gets Jonah all upset, because he knew from the start if he proclaimed, the people would repent, and then God would relent, and he would be the laughing stock.
Out of anger he moves outside the city, and God raises up a plant that gives Jonah shade and rest from the heat of the sun, only to have it wither the next day. Again, Jonah is angry that God took away the plant.
This allows God to make Jonah see the bigger picture.
Jonah was more angry over the loss of the plant, than he was over celebrating the forgiveness and salvation of thousands of people.
Jonah was looking on the wrong side of the issue.
He proclaimed that Nineveh would be destroyed, and even though he was the messenger who makes their forgiveness possible, all he saw was he wasted his time and his message of destruction was not carried out.
Jonah did not see the great work that God brought about through him.
In the same way, we often need to step back and take a fuller look at what is going on around us.
Although sometimes, it might be about me…. most times it is not.
We need to look and see that the hand of God is at work, and that many times he uses us as His instruments of mercy.
Are we willing to listen to God’s call? Are we willing to go where He asks? In the words of Isaiah do we say, “Here I am Lord, send me.”