God tells Jonah again to go to Nineveh and this time, Jonah obeys. But, his journey of doubt does not end here. You see, after he warned the people of Nineveh about their sin, the people of Nineveh actually repented-they mourned over their sin and believed in God, so God showed them mercy and spared them from disaster.
This. Ticked. Jonah. Off. He thought God was withholding something from him by sparing his enemies.
Jonah is so over dramatic. It makes us laugh, but we do this too. We think we see God doing mighty things for others and we question whether God is withholding something good from us- we easily forget that he just saved us via a giant fish.
Jonah goes outside the city to pout in the heat of the day and God graciously grows a plant over him to give him shade. The next morning, God sends a worm to eat up the plant and again Jonah screams, “just kill me now! I’m better dead than sitting in this heat!” (Jonah is a little extra, but I get it. I hate the heat too.)
Again, he doubts that God really cares about him.
Jonah doubted because he was fixated on himself and his circumstance and not on the character of God.
Jonah was asking God, “Why did you spare these people? I don’t like it. “Why did you kill my plant? I am so angry.” Notice how God does not answer his questions with a reason. Instead, he answers Jonah with Himself and His own character of mercy and love. He says, “Jonah. I am a merciful God who loves lavishly. I just showed great mercy to my enemies-and to even their cows! Surely, I will show you my great mercy and lavish love. Jonah, even you are merciful toward a plant, how much more will I show you mercy! I am not withholding from you-I am including you in my great plan for the world. I love you.”
In our doubt, God often does not give us the answers, but he gives us himself.
We doubt because we do not believe God is good and that he really cares about us.
But God, in His mercy pursues us, reminds us His knowledge is infinite and ours is limited, He uses us anyway, and He gives us himself.
God is inviting you to run to him with all of your doubts, questions and fears-to lay them at his feet. He is not afraid of your doubts-he is big enough to handle your questions.
You may not get all of the answers, but you will get Jesus and he is bigger than your fears. He is greater than what you think is your deepest desire.
I have walked with God for 25 years and my journey has been filled with me crying out to God in anger and despair, filled with me asking him a million questions, and wrestling through the unknown. I also have a deep, abiding and loving relationship with my God. I share this with you to give you hope.
Doubting does not have to be arbitrary. When we run to God with our doubts, he will use them to strengthen our faith in ways we never imagine.
“It is not as a child that I believe and confess Jesus Christ. My hosanna is born of a furnace of doubt.” ~Fyodor Dostoyevski
He is inviting you to run to him and let him turn your doubt into hosanna.
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If you found this post helpful, you might enjoy reading the Rest of the Jonah Series: