"And God said to Jonah, Do you do well to be angry for the loss of the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, angry enough to die! Then said the Lord, You have had pity on the gourd, for which you have not labored nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, in which there are more than 120,000 persons not [yet old enough to] know their right hand from their left, and also many cattle [not accountable for sin]?" Jonah 4:9-11
These are the last verses in Jonah. This is how the story ends. You might want to go back and re-read it.
June 6-8, I went to Dalhart to babysit Dax & Gus. While I was there, I read the story of Jonah to them out of their Children's Storybook Bible by Sally Lloyd Jones (you must get this if you don't have it!). Ever since then, I've been meditating on Jonah. Coincidentally, I was at the book of Jonah in my own reading through the Bible. (Sometimes God works hard to get my attention!)
Tonight, I finished the book of Jonah. And I was hit with the end of the story. "This is IT? This is how this story ends??" I mean...I've heard and read this story many, many times. But tonight I was struck with the ending. It's not a happy ending. The last we see of Jonah...he's angry! He first rebelled against the assignment God gave him and then he finally conceded and obeyed. After which, God showed mercy to a heathen nation who repented. And Jonah was angry. In fact, he'd said, "Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this,Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people." He was ticked off because God showed mercy.
Here's what I'm learning. We're totally responsible for how our story ends. We can finish well...or we can finish ticked off. We can bless...or we can curse. We can have a happy ending or we can have a sad conclusion. It's totally up to us.
God made all kinds of provisions for Jonah throughout his story. He tried turning his heart and mind through many tools. But ultimately...Jonah was responsible for how his story ended.
I am married to Andy Dietz, pastor of First Baptist Church, Groom, TX. We've been in the ministry for over 35 years. We have four grown children and 10 beautiful grandchildren! I write to share what God is teaching me (it's a continual work in progress!) and to open the window to my life and allow you to look in.