Posts Tagged ‘Jonah and the whale’

Jo 23Recently, we were at the home of some friends for a birthday celebration. There were lots of hugs all round when people arrived and gave their gifts. But every time this happened, our hosts’ dog would bark and bark, until she was told in no uncertain terms to be quiet.

What could be going on in her mind to act like this, we wondered. Apparently, it is something she has always done from when she first came to them. We decided she must feel her special place in her owners’ hearts was being usurped. And, if they themselves hugged each other, then that was a double whammy! ‘Oh no—they always cuddle me!’ we imagined her thinking. ‘I’m the special one around here. They can’t feel the same about anyone else! How dare they? I won’t put up with this. I’m going to let them know I object!’

All up, it seemed this faithful canine friend was not into sharing her owners with anyone to that extent at least—even each other. It did not sit well with her at all. Rightly or wrongly, jealousy seemed to hold sway in her doggie heart and mind at such moments.

The same day I saw this interesting event unfold, I heard a sermon based on the story of Jonah. After being asked by God to deliver a stern message to the wicked people of Nineveh, Jonah sets out in the entirely opposite direction. He survives being thrown overboard, swallowed by a big fish and vomited up on a beach, before finally heading off to share God’s message. And, just as he had thought they might, those pesky people of Nineveh repented and God forgave them.

But was Jonah happy? Not at all. He was quite miffed with God for giving them a second chance. And he was even more miffed when the vine God provided as shelter withered (Jonah 4). After all, he was entitled to special treatment from God, wasn’t he, unlike those wicked people of Nineveh who deserved everything they got?

I have to say I have often scoffed at Jonah in my heart and been amazed at his selfish attitude. As if he were the only one God could possibly love! Yet everything he had was freely given to him by God. Anyway, what right did he have to tell God how to behave? Yet I have had to ask myself that same question at times, especially in my writing journey. How easy it can be to feel jealous of other authors and their successes! Yet why should God not bless them and give them fruit for their labours, as well as deep fulfilment as they write? I do not have a monopoly on any of these things—or on God’s love and compassion. I have been given much, grace upon grace. So I need to show that same grace to others, sharing in their joys and successes and encouraging them with a generous heart in love.

And I suspect that goes for all of us, whether writers or not—don’t you think?

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking. It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:4-5

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