So Jonah went out of the city and sat on the east side of the city. There he made himself a shelter and sat under it in the shade, till he might see what would become of the city. And the LORD God prepared a plant and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be shade for his head to deliver him from his misery. So Jonah was very grateful for the plant. (Jonah 4:5-6 NKJV)
Waiting on God takes great patience. When patience evaporates, anger and resentment often replace it. We are capable, even at moments when we should be grateful to God, to be so self-directed that we simply run ahead of God toward our own solutions. By Chapter 4, Jonah had disobeyed God, been saved by the whale(God), finally arrived at Nineveh, and was angry with God, with Nineveh, with everyone but himself! Jonah did a very human thing. He went outside the city of Nineveh and selected a nice spot to watch God destroy it. Jonah was no longer in obedience, he had resigned and decided to become a spectator. Our gracious God met him in that state and provided a vine to grow immediately and shield Jonah from the heat. Jonah liked that. God was finally doing things his way! But Jonah awoke the next day to a very different circumstance. (vs 7-8) But as morning dawned the next day God prepared a worm, and it so damaged the plant that it withered. And it happened, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat on Jonah’s head, so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Our Lord is not a fickle God, teasing, then taunting. God was teaching Jonah an object lesson. God explained it simply — But the LORD said, “You have had pity on the plant for which you have not labored, nor made it grow, which came up in a night and perished in a night. And should I not pity Nineveh, that great city, in which are more than one hundred and twenty thousand persons who cannot discern between their right hand and their left–and much livestock? God’s thoughts are higher than our thoughts.
Have you become so self-directed because God is not following your plan that you have become a spiritual spectator? Is the worm eating your vine and you can’t seem to figure out why? We experience the heart of God when we are in step with God. We cannot then usurp His heart and run ahead of him casting our own plan, if we do, He’ll send the worm and bring on the heat.
Are you carrying ill will toward any person, church, ministry, or ministry assignment? Don’t wait for the worm to come. Repent and pray blessing over those you hoped to watch God destroy. Better yet, you be a blessing to them.
But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High… (Luke 6:35 NKJV)