Friday, October 15, 2010

the lessons of Jonah

My immediate response to my latest driving assignment led me to some serious repentance. Man, God is always pushing for that.

You see, technically my training on the road ends today. I should have no more time with my trainer and I should have two days off until I have to return to take final tests and paperwork.

These two days were very precious to me. I wanted very badly to attend the wedding of a friend tomorrow. He is a stout believer and I love to see friends unite under the headship of Christ. (I was also supposed to usher, so there's a broken promise.)

Secondly, I want to see my church. I want to talk to my church family and encourage and be encouraged at a gathering of believers. I wanted to shake hands and smile and laugh and find out all the ways God has been active in their lives.

And, I really wanted to see my family. Especially my nephew. Man, I miss that kid like crazy.

None of that is going to happen now. I will miss the wedding, miss church and miss my family.

My first lightning bolt response was intense anger. I had spent the last few days in prayer about the weekend because it was looking oddly like it wouldn't happen. Last night I was nearly convinced of it and spent a lot of time petitioning God to be merciful to me. Then, at noonish today, I was informed that I would be spending the weekend driving to Lansing, Michigan. Most of that time would be spent sitting at a truckstop (36 of the 48 hours.)

I instantly shot up a prayer that sounded something like this: "Why would you deprive me of these joys? Am I being unreasonable to demand them? Have you no pity? What is a job, anyway?"

God's solemn answer came like a train wreck. Jonah had a shade tree grow and whither and he cursed God for it. What is a job other than a shade tree? What are these small joys but fruit from that tree? God had graciously provided the job and I became insolent as soon as it didn't provide the fruit I wanted. And so God answered me with a question, "Do you do well to be angry?" And I immediately saw my atrocious sin.

My trainer is not a believer. He, like Nineveh, is an unrepentant city. I have felt little compassion for him and have at times thought that he didn't even deserve the offer of grace. That's twisted and ugly, but it is the truth.

God withered my tree so that I would be aware of my sin and perhaps repent and preach the Gospel. I ask that you would pray for me these next 48 hours and also for the soul of my trainer, the Ninevite. May God be merciful to us both.