But Jonah thought this was utterly wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, “Come on, Lord! Wasn’t this precisely my point when I was back in my own land? This is why I fled to Tarshish earlier! I know that you are a merciful and compassionate God, very patient, full of faithful love, and willing not to destroy. At this point, Lord, you may as well take my life from me, because it would be better for me to die than to live.”
The Lord responded, “Is your anger a good thing?” -Jonah 4:1-4
When Jonah proclaimed God’s word to the people of Nineveh, they changed their ways. They determined that they wanted to yield their lives to God and took every step to do that. Jonah was put out with that. He did not want to have to rethink his estimation of the Ninevites. He thought God’s mercy for them was wrong. And he told God so!
A great Old Testament scholar, Walter Brueggemann, once said that the reason our world has so much violence behavior in it is that we have forgotten how to take our violent impulses to God. Only God can receive our anger without harm being done. Jonah prays before he acts on his anger. And God asks him to reflect on it, before he acts on it.
God is so good, so good, to us. Even when we are angry, or maybe especially then.
Lead me to share every emotion with you, O God, so that I, like Jonah and Jesus, may come to know you in every emotion. Amen.
Share something in your life that is not sitting right with you with God. Let ‘er rip!
Practice a prayer to God that you may not have prayed together before: “C’mon God!” When might you feel the need to pray this prayer?