THE SERVANT GENERAL
today's reading, Jonah gets angry with God, because the conversion
of Nineveh was greatly displeasing to him (Jonah 4:1). Because
of his anger, he wanted to die (Jon 4:3). Later Jonah again
was angry with God, when the gourd plant giving him shade
withered. Again he wanted to die.
afflictions happen to us that cause us to react in negative
ways, at times even against God. We fail to see God's purposes.
We disagree with what has happened, and consider things only
according to our own perspective. We have set ways of accepting
how God should act in the world, and if things do not happen
our way, we react negatively. We become sorry for ourselves.
Wittingly or unwittingly, we reject the very plan of God.
Ondoy caused great damage. Among our brethren, one lost his
father in the flood, a couple lost their house and all possessions,
necessitating their entrusting their 5 children to other persons
temporarily, still another had to wade through waist deep
water (in other parts even deeper) for two days to reach his
home and loved ones. There were of course over 300 deaths,
and countless homes and personal possessions destroyed. Around
the same time, in other parts of the world, there was the
earthquake in Indonesia and the tsunami in Samoa that caused
great damage and loss of lives.
does one afflicted by such calamities react? It is proper
to grieve and shed tears. But one must also learn the lessons
that God is trying to teach. Detachment from possessions?
Concern for our fellow men? Care for nature? Redemptive suffering?
Reverential fear? Trust in Jesus?
who has suffered must first of all place his suffering in
perspective. Is he still alive? Others lost their lives. Is
he still healthy? Others have been injured. Does he still
have his home? Others have lost everything. Is he still living
in the same place? Others have to relocate and enter into
an uncertain future. Despite suffering, God is still there
one must never take it out on God. There can be a great temptation
to do so. After all, does not God control nature? Why does
God allow the innocent to suffer? But God's question to Jonah
is His same question to us: "Have you reason to be angry?"
(Jon 4:4). "Have you reason to be angry over the plant?"
(Jon 4:9). Jonah said yes he has reason to be angry. This
is in contrast to Job, who did not complain against God. And
Job, in humility, finally accepted that he would not be able
to fully understand God's ways, and simply accepted God's
majesty and sovereignty. God then restored and blessed him
twofold. On the other hand, we do not know how Jonah's story
need to trust in God's justice and righteousness, especially
in the midst of affliction. His ways are not our ways. He
is the Almighty! His plans are always for our good. God can
comfort us, as He would want to, just as He provided Jonah
a gourd plant for shade from the heat, which made him very
happy. But God also sent a worm to attack the plant the next
morning so that it withered, and without the shade Jonah became
faint due to the heat. If this happened to us, our response
should not be that of Jonah, who got angry and wanted to die,
but that of Job, who said: "The Lord gave and the Lord
has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord!" (Job
1:21b). Job did not sin, nor say anything disrespectful of
God (Job 1:22).
knew about God. "I knew that you are a gracious and merciful
God, slow to anger, rich in clemency, loathe to punish."
(Jon 4:2b). But he did not act in accordance with his faith.
When the chips were down, so was his faith. God told Jonah:
"You are concerned over the plant which cost you no labor
and which you did not raise; it came up in one night and in
one night it perished." (Jon 4:10). All good things come
from God. At times, God allows the bad things to happen. The
Lord gives and the Lord takes away. "We accept good things
from God; and should we not accept evil?" (Job 2:10b).
happens to us in life, whether good or seemingly bad, God
is there for us. He is our comfort and He is our salvation.
Let us simply trust in Him, knowing that He is just and righteous.
bless you all.
to me life is Christ, and death is gain." (Phil 1:21)
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of Job - Part 6[PDF]