U-Turn

OPENING PRAYER

Lord, this is Your beautiful, marvelous world. Help me to see glimpses of it with Your eyes, and not my own.

 

Read: JONAH 4:1–11

[1] But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. [2] He prayed to the LORD, “Isn’t this what I said, LORD, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. [3] Now, LORD, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.” [4] But the LORD replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” [5] Jonah had gone out and sat down at a place east of the city. There he made himself a shelter, sat in its shade and waited to see what would happen to the city. [6] Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. [7]But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. [8] When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” [9] But God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” “It is,” he said. “And I’m so angry I wish I were dead.” [10] But the LORD said, “You have been concerned about this plant, though you did not tend it or make it grow. It sprang up overnight and died overnight.[11] And should I not have concern for the great city of Nineveh, in which there are more than a hundred and twenty thousand people who cannot tell their right hand from their left-and also many animals?” 

 

Reflect: HAVE YOU EVER THOUGHT THAT GOD WAS MAKING A MISTAKE?

.Our perspective in life is necessarily limited. We are conditioned by our biology, our experience and our culture to see things a certain way. Our vision is narrow, and usually more than a little self-centered. God’s vision is so much bigger than ours. He has the good of his whole creation in view. That’s why we can trust that his actions are right. Jonah struggled with this. His fears from the outset were realized. Jonah felt deeply that the people of Nineveh deserved destruction. He answered God’s call, proclaimed repentance to the city and God forgave. Now his enemies were enjoying God’s favor. Again we find Jonah wallowing in anger.

There are many times in life when God’s actions are confusing to us. We do not understand why he doesn’t simply hate the things that we hate and love the things that we love. At these times, like Jonah, we need to be reminded that God’s view is bigger. His compassion is wider. He sees things we cannot see, and he will do things we cannot grasp. He is God. And he is good.  

 

APPLY

Is there a situation in your life that is particularly frustrating? Ask God to help you see it from his perspective.

 

CLOSING PRAYER

Lord, when I don’t understand what You do and want to head in my own direction, help me instead to walk in Yours.

 

Syndicated via Scripture Union. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide.
 

Terry Schneider