Thought for Thursday

But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered. Jonah 3:7

We hear it all the time, don’t we? People blame God for the death of a child, the destruction of a home, the suffering of a loved one. If God was a good God, they say, He would not let bad things happen like that. Jonah had a nice gourd that provided him with wonderful shade, and he enjoyed it fully. But God sent along a worm that killed the gourd, and Jonah lost his shade. Was it fair of God to take away such a blessing? How could God possibly be good if He would do such a mean thing?

For one thing, it was God Who provided the gourd in the first place. Jonah had nothing to do with its provision, even though he appreciated its shade. God provided it, and God removed it. We need to take that into consideration when we lose a loved one, or suffer a catastrophe. That which we enjoyed was on loan from God, and we have no right to criticize His recalling it.

For another thing, God was trying to get through to Jonah. Somehow, Jonah had a twisted idea about God’s character. By removing the gourd, God was able to get Him to understand His mercy and grace. Jonah needed to know that God’s ways are far above our ways, and He loves to dispense mercy. Do we understand God’s character? Sometimes it is only in the removal of His gourds of blessing that God can get through to us.

Has God removed one of the gourds that he gave to you? Maybe it’s time to ask Him why, and to reveal Himself to you, that you might appreciate His goodness and mercy. – Jim MacIntosh

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