“But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was angry. And he prayed to the Lord and said, ‘I pray thee, Lord, is not this what I said when I was yet in my country? That is why I made haste to flee to Tarshish; for I knew that thou art a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love, and repentest of evil.’ ” (Jonah 4:1-2).
Early in the story of Jonah, we are told that he fled from the face of God when asked to go to Nineveh and proclaim God’s message. It is natural to assume that he was afraid of the fearsome Ninevites. But, here he tells God something far different and more sinful. To flea in fear would have been wrong for sure, but to flea because you do not agree with God’s mercy extending to others is something far more grave and prideful. Jonah could not bear to see God’s mercy extend to pagan Gentiles. He even went so far as to tell God that he would prefer to be dead.
Before we all shake our heads and cluck our tongues, we need to examine our own heart and identify from whom we are withholding mercy and forgiveness. Here in the middle of Lent is a great time to examine current and past relationships and seek forgiveness, extend mercy and pray for healing.
Remember, you are dust, and to dust you will return. Repent and believe in the Gospel.
Editor’s Note: Join us each morning during Lent for Daily Lenten Reflections.