In today’s reading from Jonah we hear him moaning about the people of Nineveh and complaining that God did not punish them. Usually when I read Jonah I feel a bit sorry for him but also a bit frustrated that he can’t be happy about the people trying to turn back to God. This morning, though, I’m with Jonah.
When you work in ministry, people can be frustrating. Because, you know, they are people and not perfect. And there are some who reach out for help and you respond and then, nothing! Or you set out the plan for involvement and there is excitement and then, nothing! And so, like Jonah, I want God to do something to make these folks pay attention and respond. The nothing response is frustrating; I’d almost rather have people tell me they dislike something than no response at all.
Yes, Jonah has my sympathy; but ultimately I know that God only moves in people’s lives when they ask. And his mercy is a wonderful way to get people’s attention. So while I may get Jonah’s frustration, I’d rather err on the side of understanding and give to others the mercy God has so generously given to me.