On one of the hottest days this year, we decided to dig a drainage ditch for three 6 inch downspouts into a 6 inch corrugated pipe. I know, insane right!?! As I dug with my daughter and her boyfriend, I found myself working in spurts. I would work for a few minutes and then sit down for a breath for 30 seconds. But as my brain cooked in the heat, I noticed the trees providing me shade and a gentle breeze to cool my soaked shirt. GOD made those trees and HE provided the breeze. I know this was not a burning bush or parting of the Red Sea, but at 93 degrees it was GOD’S GRACE and I am thankful to the LORD for that shade.
As I sat in the chair on one of my little breaks, I was reminded of my time overseas in the desert when a shade could be the difference between 100 degrees and 80 degrees. Direct sunlight is brutal at 100 degrees and in a land of few trees, there is little opportunity for natural shade. Yet do you know that a poplar tree must live at least 30+ years old to provide adequate shade from the sun? Or an Oak tree must be around 80+ years old? That reminds me of Jonah after he was delivered to Nineveh where Jonah spoke the WORD of LORD and warned them of their impeding demise. However, it is Jonah’s reaction and GOD’S actions that really made me appreciate the little things GOD provides us daily.
Starting in Jonah chapter 4, we read how displeased and angry Jonah has gotten over Nineveh’s show of repentance. Why do you think Jonah would be upset with a city acknowledging and turning from their wicked ways? After all, it was GOD ALMIGHTY who sent Jonah to Nineveh to preach GOD’S Message. But Jonah had disobeyed GOD when he was first given the task and now that he has completed the mission, Jonah is so upset that he asked GOD to take his life. For you see, Nineveh was a city of Gentiles and Jonah did not feel GOD should give this wicked heathen nation such salvation.
In Jonah 4:5-10, Jonah has taken a place outside the city to see what would happen. While he is sitting, GOD prepared a plant to grow over Jonah that it might be shade for his head and Jonah was grateful for the plant. However, the next morning GOD prepared a worm and the worm damaged the shading plant. Jonah felt the blistering sun on his head and wished he was dead. Then GOD questioned Jonah “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” and Jonah responded with “It is right to be angry, even to death.”
Jonah 4:10; But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
What a message for this time in history. How many times have we expressed our frustration over something lost that was helping us? Yet, did we labor for it? Did we even recognize by whom this aid was made possible? How many times have we expressed our frustration with this pandemic and all the rules to comply with? Or how others are not abiding by the rules and therefore keeping this pandemic surging? But I wonder, how many lost souls are in your circle of life and are you as concerned for them as you are frustrated with this pandemic? Jesus Christ is our shade from this worldly event and we must recognize who is responsible for providing this shade of Salvation. To GOD be the Glory, for HE Sent HIS only Son to die on that cross for our sins, for everyone’s sins!
Although we may justify our frustration over recent events, we must look past our current inconveniences and focus on the long-term future. We must recognize that GOD has placed every tree, every breeze and everyone on this earth for a reason. We must be thankful and respect all of GOD’S Creation. We must tell others of the GOOD NEWS, no matter our personal feelings towards them for GOD cares for them as much as HE cares for us.
Jonah was wrong to be angry because GOD wanted him to tell Gentiles to turn away from their wicked ways. But are we any different than Jonah? Do we not still express our frustration over what people are protesting about or when people refuse to wear their mask in public? We must not look within, but look outward at those around us who are dying without making that fateful decision. We are in the greatest time for the Great Commission and we must not lose this opportunity, for we know not when Jesus will return to rapture GOD’S Children. Tell someone about Jesus’ Love today!