Saturday, March 5, 2011

God's Persistence

The Fourth Chapter of Jonah is one of my favorite passages of scripture for the stark portrait of the human heart it snaps.  I have not included the whole chapter here, trusting that you're capable of locating it in your Bible to read for yourself.  (But, if you want it onscreen now click here.)

In the briefest of nutshells, Jonah ran from God's direction, got thrown overboard in a storm to appease the angry gods, got eaten by a great fish, got spit out on the shore, followed God's original direction.  Then, the fun in Chapter 4 begins because God shows compassion on the people Jonah can't stand.  He goes into a snit and tromps out of town to pout where God puts a vine to grow over Jonah's head for shade.  Jonah is very happy with the vine for the comfort it gives him, then the vine dies.  You read the rest.

How fickle (and almost selfish) the human heart can be!  When things go

according to plan and according to our wishes we almost think, "Well of course, I deserve this; isn't God wonderful?"  But, when things crash and burn we begin our muttering and pouting and think, "What have I done to deserve this fine kettle of fish?   God must hate me."  Reading a story like Jonah's helps us see through the silliness of being human and letting our hopes (and doubts!) rise and fall like a tide on the sea of our own fortunes.  God is a constant -- far more constant throughout the course of one's life than we might ever imagine.  The course of life is passing us by far more rapidly than we can grasp, yet over and through, under and around it all God sees and persistently holds our hands and lives in a peace that we can easily and frequently assume is not there.  Yet, God is here and for that we should be grateful and appreciate the blessing of His peace that he nurtures to grow over us as shade for the hot and trying times of life's existence.

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