Ups And Downs

Jonah 4:2–3 ‘Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ (v3)

If Jonah had been in the modern day, his ministry newsletter would have made interesting reading.

An astonishing revival comes about such that God does not bring on the people the judgment He had promised.

You can imagine the book deals and the conference invites that Jonah would garner off the back of this. But Jonah’s response is to ask God to take his life.

His prayer team back home would have been very confused. The reason is clearly given in 4:2: he knew God was gracious and this was precisely what he feared would happen.

Hence at the end of the book of Jonah, we have the disobedient prophet becoming the grumpy and vacillating prophet – simultaneously wanting to die and also be shielded by a plant that God provides and then removes.

You couldn’t make it up, and those who suspect that the whole Jonah story is made up, have to reckon with a prophet whose make up is not unlike us.

Haven’t you found yourself conflicted? Things have gone well spiritually but you are unexpectedly discontented?

Or you seem to flit from one emotion to the next in a few short hours. Thankfully God contends with the prophet.

He is utterly consistent and holds out His hands of love to a bloodthirsty people who repent (though will eventually face judgment over a century later at the time of Nahum).

For now, they are safe and so is the prophet, left to reflect on a God who is gracious: His care for the people of Nineveh, mirrored in His concern for him personally.

And if you know ups and downs, you can be sure He is concerned for you too!


A Prayer To Make:
Lord, like Jonah I am sometimes all over the place: up and down. Thank You that You meet me where I am at. Amen.

An Action To Take:
If you find yourself conflicted, try not to take things too seriously. Pause. Pray and ask God to give you a settled mind.

Scripture To Consider:
Exod. 34:6–7; 2 Chr. 34:14–33; Acts 2:14–41 & 19:1–20

Micha Jazz is Director of Resources at Waverley Abbey, UK.