Jonah: Day 30

When dawn came the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, and it withered. As the sun was rising, God appointed a scorching east wind. The sun beat down so much on Jonah’s head that he almost fainted, and he wanted to die. He said, “It’s better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah 4:7-8 (HCSB)

Earlier in the book of Jonah, God appointed a large fish to swallow Jonah. Later He appointed a plant to grow and shade Jonah. Now He appoints a worm to appear in the desert and attack the plant. Then He appoints a scorching east wind to blow.

God is the King of the world, the Emperor of Earth. He has control over the largest of creatures, such as whales, and the smallest, such as creepy-crawlies and worms. He has control over the water, as we saw in the storm, and He has control over the wind, as we see here. Whatever happens in nature, God either causes it or allows it. Our God is not chained and padlocked to His throne such that He cannot intervene with the universe He made and ordered!

What would be the point of thanking God that someone we know didn’t die in an earthquake if, in truth, God could not have done anything because He doesn’t control nature? What would be the point of praying for good weather before a journey if God was utterly helpless to answer our prayers? No, God causes or allows all things. This means that we are not helpless in the face of nature because we know that our God can and does change nature and intervene on behalf of His people or His justice.

It also means that, though we cannot understand the horror of natural disasters, we can trust that God, in His infinite wisdom, knows what He is doing–His thoughts are simply higher than our thoughts and His ways far above our ways. Too many Christians try chaining God to His throne or shoving Him into a nice comfortable box. Our faith will only truly grow and flourish when we recognise that we can never stop God or squash Him into our tiny boxes.

Sometimes God acts slowly, sometimes He acts overnight as He did here with Jonah by killing the plant. Either way, we must always be prepared for His actions and seek Him in all things because not even a tiny bird falls from the sky without His knowledge and permission: “Aren’t two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them falls to the ground without your Father’s consent” (Matthew 10:29).

  • Adam Young is Associate Minister at All Saints' Church in North Ferriby, England, and Padre to the Yorkshire North & West Army Cadet Force. He has a Master in Applied Theology from Oxford University. In his spare time, he enjoys weightlifting, trail running, painting miniatures, and reading theology.

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