Have you ever had a Jonah day? I just had one. Angry as can be, I said to God, “I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm” (Jonah 4:2). When Jonah said this to God, it was an accusation, not praise. And I’ve been there! I want God to smite someone into the Stone Age, but He goes another way. Suddenly Jonah, the overly dramatic peddler of petulance, starts making a lot of sense. That’s a Jonah day.
From the time I woke up, evil was in my face. It was one of those days when you just can’t get away from how broken and stupid and awful the world is. I felt like I was being bombarded with nimcompoopery without a break.
Evil, selfish jerkface is being an evil, selfish jerkface again. Evil, incompetent princess of rude is being an evil, incompetent princess of rude again. And where’s the smiting? Nowhere to be found.
Sliding into Jonah Mode
By noon, I’d nearly moved into full Jonah mode, but I wasn’t completely there yet. And then what should I find when I went home for lunch? A bird in my house. How did it get in there? God. God put the bird in my house. And when I finally succeeded in chasing it out the door, God’s bird left me a message. On his way out, that beady-eyed worm-eater evacuated his bird bowels on a jacket I’d just had cleaned. Needless to say, that pushed me into full Jonah mode.
“Satan’s evil puppet monkeys get a free pass and I get pooped on?! By a bird?! IN MY HOUSE?! Are you kidding me right now?! I quit!” I was so mad that my head hurt. And I decided to go read the book of Jonah because I was pretty sure that he made a few good points. I read the whole thing – nice, quick read with only four chapters – but when I got to the last two verses, they gutted me. No doubt the same way they probably gutted Jonah.
But the Lord said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left—and much livestock?”
Jonah 4:10-11 NKJV
There’s no record of Jonah’s response to God, but I just cried like a baby. And that was the true outlet I needed. I couldn’t handle all the hurt that I was seeing. I couldn’t bear the evil that neither saw nor cared to see how ruthlessly they ravaged another soul. I wanted God to make it stop because I couldn’t handle the weight of it all. But then, I wasn’t meant to, and neither was Jonah.
I asked God’s forgiveness and did what I should have done in the first place: I let go of the pain and rolled it onto Him. I wonder if Jonah ever came to his own repentance before God. I wonder if he let go of the pain and suffering that Nineveh caused him. To my knowledge, there is no ministry of smiting evil puppet monkeys until they’re all piles of ash, but there is a ministry of tears. I hope Jonah discovered that, too, before the end.