Jonah was instructed to go to Ninevah, so he literally got on a boat going in the opposite direction. The storm came. The sailors tossed him overboard. God prepared a fish to swallow Jonah. But then, God met Jonah in the belly of the whale, maybe just to show him that even in straight-up disobedience, Jonah was not beyond the reach of God's heart. (Compassion Point #1)
Of course, Jonah repented and went to Ninevah to declare that because of their evil and wicked ways, God was going to wipe them out. But they repented. Like, seriously, repented with fasting and everything! And God didn't destroy them. (Compassion Point #2) All of this made Jonah mad, and he even declared that He knew God was so merciful that He wouldn't destroy a repenting, relenting city.
Chapter 4 of Jonah tells us a short story about how God created a plant to give Jonah shade. But then, He created a worm to destroy the plant. Jonah became so angry he literally wanted to die. Then God went in for the heart of Jonah. He asked Jonah how it was that he had compassion toward a plant and a worm that he didn't create or cause to grow, but not for over 120,000 repenting people in Ninevah. (Compassion Point #3)
After God made his point, the book ends abruptly. Rightly so, I guess Jonah had nothing to say in response. Lesson learned.
What I got out of this reading this morning was just the great compassion of God. Not only did He demonstrate compassion on the people of Ninevah, but He also took the time to teach Jonah about compassion. If God went after the heart of the Ninevites and a cold-hearted, reluctant prophet, won't He come for us, too? I don't want to make a comparison here, but just take a solid look at God's compassion toward mankind. We're mankind, too! That means that God is looking at us, and His heart is chasing us as well. I don't know about you, but I need a huge dose of His compassion operating in my life every day.
Today, I will remind myself of God's compassion toward me - yes, me. My meditations will be on how He goes to extremes to get to our hearts. I will turn my thoughts to how He chases after us, and all we have to do is let Him catch us. Today, I will let God catch me. Then, I will just rest in Him, knowing He's got it all covered. Will you join me?