A Lesson From Jonah’s Garden
The setting is a happy one, the sun is streaming through my dining room window. Refracted rainbows from the crystal chandelier cast across the ceiling, the walls, the counters, and the floor of my kitchen. I’m in the mood to bake. I thumb through handwritten pages looking for my favorite caramel apple pie recipe. The extra effort to make two is small so I decide to make an extra one for my neighbor.
With my apron still on I take the steaming hot pie and deliver it next door. I enjoy the experience so much that I take her a pie every Thursday for over a month. Then one day life gets busy and my baking streak ends. My neighbor misses her weekly pie and calls me. She had invited guests for lunch and had counted on me providing the dessert. She was angry that I didn’t show up with pie. What!?!
I’ve been pondering the story of Jonah. Really he’s not a whole lot different than us if we are really honest. A bit of a spoiled child syndrome going on. God blesses him with the shade of a plant but when it’s removed he has a temper tantrum. “Then God said to Jonah, ‘Is it right for you to be angry because the plant died? ‘Yes,’ Jonah retorted, ‘even angry enough to die!’ Then the Lord said, ‘You feel sorry about the plant though you did nothing to put it there…” Jonah 4:9 & 10 Jonah didn’t plant it, in fact he didn’t even think to ask for it! The imaginary illustration of “my neighbor” and pie is a weak stab at relating how God must have felt.
Once again God is putting a spot light on an area He wants to fix in me. How often have I taken for granted His blessings, becoming dependent on them, maybe even taking credit for them myself? God has a way of getting my attention and temporarily removes a blessing I have come to depend on. There was nothing bad about the blessing, it was good, what was wrong was that I looked to the blessing to give me “shade” instead of trusting God to provide how He knows best, trusting the giver not the blessing.
Psalm 104 NLT
1 Let all that I am praise the Lord.
O Lord my God, how great you are!
10 You make springs pour water into the ravines,
so streams gush down from the mountains.
11 They provide water for all the animals,
and the wild donkeys quench their thirst.
12 The birds nest beside the streams
and sing among the branches of the trees.
13 You send rain on the mountains from your heavenly home,
and you fill the earth with the fruit of your labor.
14 You cause grass to grow for the livestock
and plants for people to use.
You allow them to produce food from the earth—
27 They all depend on you
to give them food as they need it.
28 When you supply it, they gather it.
You open your hand to feed them,
and they are richly satisfied.