When reading Jonah, I used to be almost solely focused on the prophet gone prodigal and the lessons that I could learn from him . . . the “what not to do’s”. But over the past few years, when I engage with this book as part of my reading plan, God, and what He does, captures more and more of the center stage for me. In addition to His interaction with Jonah . . . and His lack of intervention with the Ninevites. . ., I am a bit blown away by God’s interplay with nature. I take note of His interplay with the weather . . . with the sea and creatures in the sea . . . with plant life . . . and, yes, with even a worm. I wonder if sometimes I might think about God as being so big that He only interacts with this world at a macro level. Kind of that “His fingers” are so big that I don’t expect Him to be able to exercise “fine motor skills” here on earth.
God is extremely active in the account of Jonah . . He does a lot of stuff in this little book. Check out this very brief summary . . . “The word of the LORD came to Jonah” (1:1) . . . “the LORD hurled a great wind upon the sea” (1:4) . . . “the LORD appointed a great fish to swallow up Jonah” (1:17) . . . “the LORD spoke to the fish, and it vomited Jonah out upon dry land” (2:10) . . . “the word of the LORD came to Jonah the second time” (3:1) . . . “God saw how they (the Ninevites) turned from their evil way . . . God relented . . . God did not do it [bring disaster on them]” (3:10) . . . “the LORD God appointed a plant” (4:6) . . . “God appointed a worm” (4:7) . . . “God appointed a scorching east wind” (4:8) . . . and then God spoke to Jonah again (4:9-11).
I’m in awe of all the “dials” God turned in order to direct one stubborn called-of-God prophet. Everything from stirring the elements . . . to commanding a fish, “Ok . . . that dudes had enough–time to upchuck him” . . . to moving a worm to have an elephant’s appetite. How awesome is our God?
And it makes me wonder, how many earthly “dials” God is adjusting around me in order to teach me what I need to learn. To pause and consider where, with His fingertips, He is ordering the details about me such that He might direct me to a place where I might humble myself before His throne. Of what He’s “tweaking” in order to help me to have “ears to hear” what the Spirit desires to say to me?
I fear that, for the most part, on a daily basis I am absolutely oblivious to the possibility of God working in the fine details and circumstances of my world. But if God is the “the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change” (James 1:17) . . . and He is . . . why wouldn’t I at least entertain the possibility that He can be just as active in the day-to-day stuff around me today as He was with Jonah way back then?
God is awesome in power . . . and mighty in deed. And it’s not just in the parting of seas or creating of tempests or setting afire scorching winds, but its also in growing a plant, directing a fish, and prompting a worm to go on a binge-fest.
I’m amazed at the thought of how involved God is in our world . . . and at the most detailed and intricate of levels. I don’t need to see Him working . . . I don’t need to understand every cause and effect ordained by Him . . . but my desire is to hear His voice and recognize His presence as it pleases Him to reveal Himself in the small things.
O that I might know and expect that He still works with “fine motor skills” to shape this lump of clay for His glory.