I think I can identify entirely too much with Jonah. His whole demeanor was one of rebellious obedience. He fought that trip to Nineveh the entire way, from the calling to the time he waited under the leaf for the city to be consumed. He did what God told him to do, and he made sure God knew that he was only doing it for God's sake.
The amazing thing is that the people of Nineveh were convicted, in spite of Jonah. I can almost see and hear him spitting out his words of disdain throughout the city, about how the people were doomed to destruction because they were so horrible. "Your destruction is coming, and good riddance. God finally wised up, and you are so gonna get it now. Oh, and by the way, He might change His mind, if you repent, but don't count on it, 'cause you don't deserve it."
And then he goes and sits under his leaf, and thinks, "This is gonna be good. OK, God. I get it. You brought me here for a good show, and they totally deserve it! Sorry I was so disagreeable earlier -- I wouldn't want to miss this! Wipe 'em out Egyptian style!"
I struggle with rebellious obedience. Yeah, I do what God says, but often under duress. OK, GOD, I'LL DO IT, BUT I WANT YOU TO KNOW THAT THIS WAS NOT MY IDEA, AND IT IS NOT HOW I THINK THINGS SHOULD BE DONE. WHY DON'T YOU JUST SHOW YOUR MIGHT AND GET ON WITH IT? BUT SINCE YOU ARE GOD, I GUESS I WILL DO IT YOUR WAY THIS TIME. BUT I HAD BETTER SEE SOMETHING GOOD COME OUT OF IT!
How incredibly arrogant; how wretched I am. As if I have a clue about what is happening in my own world, much less anything bigger. Only the King of the Universe, the Creator all things, knows the complexities of the human condition.
And amazingly, redemption still occurs, in spite of it all.
Holy Father, forgive me for my arrogance and my blatant disregard for others. Build love within me, that I may not be critical, but instead merciful. Teach me to be merciful. Let Your Kingdom continue to spread, in spite of my best efforts and my worst failures. Your gift of love is beyond my comprehension -- thank You, Lord Jesus, for Your sacrifice of mercy. Holy Spirit, live within me that I may grow to be a daughter of willing obedience and full discipleship, showing the mercy I have been given. In the name of the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, Amen.
Image courtesy of http://www.stonesoupmusic.org/soup_art3.htm and http://www.christiancollages.com.