The Calling and the Patience

Jonah 4:1-11

Jonah would have been right at home in our polarized, tribalistic society. When God told him to go to Nineveh, "them" to Israel's "us," Jonah absolutely refused and ran in the other direction. And when he finally gave a grudging obedience to God's command, and his work accomplished what God has hoped, Jonah couldn't stand that God had done something good and merciful for "the bad guys." His hatred for the other side was just as blind and irrational as anything you'd find on partisan websites and TV channels of all stripes today.

What's remarkable in all this is that Jonah is a prophet chosen by God. Was Jonah as rude and unloving when God called him as he is in this story? How remarkable is it that Jonah's disobedience didn't immediately result in God striking him down? How amazing is it that God sent a whale, then the sheltering weed, and then tried to teach Jonah instead of destroying him?

In the same way, God calls each of us to unique missions, unique lives and tasks. But while we do see His righteous and just judgment throughout Scripture, we also see His grace and patience, which flows into our own lives.

Just because you've screwed up, or even rejected God entirely, doesn't mean your usefulness to Him, your preciousness to Him, is gone as well. Look for His grace in your life. See the opportunities for repentance and growth, and accept His mercy. Join Him in the work He is already doing around you.