“I Knew This Was Going to Happen!”

It is a slippery slope when we, as believers, are angered when a sinner who we don’t think deserves any mercy receives buckets full of grace along with forgiveness.  Even their countenance changes from prideful scorn to humbled, joyful praise for the One who saved them from themselves and turned their lives around.  We are sometimes dismayed.  Why, because these bullies of the faith caused us so many problems! Then they fall down at the feet of Jesus in honest repentance and we are still remember the chaos they caused us before the reversal.  We have been faithful, Lord, they don’t deserve the benefits you are about to give them…they must repay, suffer consequences, live with guilt…something that will help us know this turnaround is real. Mmm…

We wonder why Jonah is yelling at God for saving the people he didn’t think could or should be saved.  Is his hate for them justified? 

But wait, what if God gave us exactly what we deserve?

Jonah 4, The Message

1-2 Jonah was furious. He lost his temper. He yelled at God, “God! I knew it—when I was back home, I knew this was going to happen! That’s why I ran off to Tarshish! I knew you were sheer grace and mercy, not easily angered, rich in love, and ready at the drop of a hat to turn your plans of punishment into a program of forgiveness!

“So, God, if you won’t kill them, kill me! I’m better off dead!”

God said, “What do you have to be angry about?”

But Jonah just left. He went out of the city to the east and sat down in a sulk. He put together a makeshift shelter of leafy branches and sat there in the shade to see what would happen to the city.

God arranged for a broad-leafed tree to spring up. It grew over Jonah to cool him off and get him out of his angry sulk. Jonah was pleased and enjoyed the shade. Life was looking up.

7-8 But then God sent a worm. By dawn of the next day, the worm had bored into the shade tree and it withered away. The sun came up and God sent a hot, blistering wind from the east. The sun beat down on Jonah’s head and he started to faint. He prayed to die: “I’m better off dead!”

Then God said to Jonah, “What right do you have to get angry about this shade tree?”

Jonah said, “Plenty of right. It’s made me angry enough to die!”

10-11 God said, “What’s this? How is it that you can change your feelings from pleasure to anger overnight about a mere shade tree that you did nothing to get? You neither planted nor watered it. It grew up one night and died the next night. So, why can’t I likewise change what I feel about Nineveh from anger to pleasure, this big city of more than 120,000 childlike people who don’t yet know right from wrong, to say nothing of all the innocent animals?”


God knows the minds of all His created.  Some take longer to change their minds about having a relationship with God.  Some don’t know enough about who God is so they don’t know that what they are missing in their lives, so they keep searching until they find Him.  Some know enough to know that life is not what they want or need.  Some will bully those who seem to have peace, joy and love in ways not understood by them—yet.  The search for meaning and significance plays out in a variety of ways…anger, pride, envy, arrogance and jealousy because of fear and lack of real love and belonging has not been found. 

How we respond could change a life or destroy it.  Read that again.

I’m reminded of Jesus’ story about the workers hired at various times of the day to work in the Vineyard.  Some were hired early in the morning and worked a full day in the hot sun.  Some were hired at noon.  Others in the last hours of the day.  ALL were paid the same at the end of the day.  Doesn’t seem fair, does it?  The followers of Jesus didn’t think so, either.  But here’s what Jesus said as He explained what Kingdom of God thinking is like which is different that what our world thinks…

“When those hired first came to get their pay, they assumed they would receive more. But they, too, were paid a day’s wage. When they received their pay, they protested to the owner, ‘Those people worked only one hour, and yet you’ve paid them just as much as you paid us who worked all day in the scorching heat.’

“He answered one of them, ‘Friend, I haven’t been unfair! Didn’t you agree to work all day for the usual wage? Take your money and go. I wanted to pay this last worker the same as you. Is it against the law for me to do what I want with my money? Should you be jealous because I am kind to others?’

“So those who are last now will be first then, and those who are first will be last.”  Matthew 20:10-16, NLT

Here’s the bottom line:  God does not give us what we deserve. He has drenched his world in grace. It has no end. It knows no limits. It empowers this life and enables us to live the next. God offers second chances, like a soup kitchen offers meals to everyone who asks. And that includes you.  It includes me. 

So, when a lost soul accepts the grace of God through repentance in Jesus Name, may our first thought be heart filled, “YES!” while extending hugs of mercy and grace from the spiritual arms of Jesus through our physical arms of love!  When we do we join all the angels in heave who respond in praise for one lost soul who has found the way to home to God, the Father.

Jesus said, “I tell you, there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents” (Luke 15:10). Why do they rejoice? Not because they’re surprised, but because a great victory has been won! 

“Don’t overlook the obvious here, friends. With God, one day is as good as a thousand years, a thousand years as a day. God isn’t late with his promise as some measure lateness. He is restraining himself on account of you, holding back the End because he doesn’t want anyone lost. He’s giving everyone space and time to change.”  2 Peter 3:9, MSG

Lord, God of Heaven and Earth,

Thank you for not giving us what we deserve!  Thank you for saving our souls and making us whole again while helping us point the Way to others.  Thank you for teaching us your word so we can speak Truth in love with clarity, making the most of every opportunity.  Thank you for the angels who shout with joy over every soul who repents and believes!  Thank you for cleansing our hearts of what is not right to think or do. Thank you for renewing and transforming our minds today. Thank you for refreshing our souls. Thank you for daily restoring the joy of your salvation at work within us!  I love you, Lord.  I love how you think and what you think of us.  Thank you for loving all of us they way you do.

In Jesus Name, For Your Glory, Amen!!   

About randscallawayffm

Randy and Susan co founded Finding Focus Ministries in 2006. Their goal as former full time pastors, is to serve and provide spiritual encouragement and focus to those on the "front lines" of ministry. Extensive experience being on both sides of ministry, paid and volunteer, on the mission fields of other countries as well as the United States, helps them bring a different perspective to those who need it most. Need a lift? Call us 260 229 2276.
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