Most of us know the story of Jonah. The fellow God calls to "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me"(Jonah 1:2). But Jonah doesn't feel up to the task God has placed before him, and runs away. What does this act of disobedience earn him? Three days in the stomach of a whale! That's what!
But the story doesn't end there.
After three days of prayer, and after having been vomited up by a big ol' fish, Jonah follows God's command and heads to Nineveh to let them know they have stirred the wrath of God and will be destroyed in 40 days. The king dresses himself in sackcloth, sits in the dust, and orders the entire city to do the same and to fast. God sees how they have turned from their evil ways and has compassion upon them.
And what does Jonah do at that point? Does he give thanks to God for his mercy on Nineveh? Nope! He got his old testament panties all up in a twist, went out into the desert and had a good ol' pout about all of it.
Isn't that what so many of us do when God doesn't do exactly what we wanted or expected of him? We pout. We complain. We get angry at God. We separate ourselves from Him and place ourselves into a spiritual desert. All the while blaming Him for what is our reaction.
God doesn't deny us things to disappoint us. If he doesn't give us what we wanted or do what we expected it is because while we only see what is in front of us at the time - He sees the bigger picture. He has a plan for all eternity which we can't begin to understand.
Scripture tells us in Romans 8:28 that "in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."
Did you catch that? "In all things" Not just in some things. Not just in the things we want. All things. Even in our disappointments. Even when it's not what we expected. It's still for our good.
I don't want to be Jonah. Not in the whale after trying to run and hide. Not in the desert under the worm eaten vine exposed to the scorching sun and wind.
I want to be the one to "Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!" (Philippians 4:4) The one who has learned "be content in any and every situation" (Philippians 4:12)
**many MANY thanks to Falen at Upward Not Inward whose Jonah post got me thinking about all of this in the first place and inspired this post**