What will Christmas look like for you? We had plans to celebrate Christmas this weekend with our son and our youngest daughter and their families, but pandemic restrictions changed everything. We’ve canceled those plans and will be home alone until the restrictions lift.
I suspect that most of you are in the same situation. “Disappointment” might be an understatement. For some, this year’s layered disappointments teeter on frustration or anger.
Anger toward authorities whose decisions stop us from spending time with family. Anger toward rules about wearing masks. Anger toward freedoms restricted, jobs lost, and celebrations canceled. Anger toward inconsistent rules, circumstances beyond our control, and people who don’t share our perspective.
Jonah felt angry, too. Had he not done what God told him and delivered the message of doom to Ninevah? And then, of all the nerve, God stepped in and changed His plans. (Jonah 3:10-4:3) Ninevah’s population repented, and God decided not to destroy the city after all.
Jonah took personal offense. “Just kill me now, Lord! I’d rather be dead than alive if what I predicted will not happen” (Jonah 4:3).
Jonah’s honesty revealed a heart focused on self. Pride about losing face overruled joy over people responding to God’s message and turning to Him.
God was up to something big in Ninevah, and He’d invited Jonah to play a part. Jonah’s self-focus nearly caused him to miss it.
God is up to something big in our world, and He’s invited us to play a part. He’s a merciful and compassionate God. He’s slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. (Jonah 4:2) What if He wants to use this pandemic to deepen our relationship with Him? What if He wants to use it to draw unbelievers into saving faith? What if He wants to use it to stir a revival in the Church worldwide? No matter what He’s doing, He wants us to shine as lights, to be beacons of hope for those who cannot see their way through the darkness.
When Jonah spilled his frustration, God asked him a pointed question: “Is it right for you to be angry about this?” It must have been a pretty important question because He repeated it a second time. (Jonah 4:4)
It’s important for us to ask ourselves the same question. In fact, let’s be really honest, turn it around, and personalize it: “Is it right for me to be angry about this?” Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to show us whether self-focus is blinding us to what God wants to do. And then let’s choose to be God-focused instead—active and willing participants in His plan.
#bgbg2 #Jonah #Godandthepandemic