Then God said to Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry about the plant?” And he said,”It is right for me to be angry, even to death!” But the Lord said, “You have 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 Ninevah, that great city, in which are more than one hundred twenty thousand person who cannot discern between their right hand and their left-and how much livestock?” Jonah 4:9-11 NKJV
If you are noticing a theme in my blog over the last few months, you might be on to something! Over the last few months, God has shaken up everything in my life, right down to the core foundations of my beliefs, as a means to make me take the time to stop and truly examine the motives of my heart. My work. The ministry opportunities He has given me. He has humbled me before His throne in a way I have never before experienced- and though I don’t want a repeat occurence of this season, I am thankful for every minute. The Lord has taught me so much. Placed some incredible people in my path. He has shown me sin I have been harboring and granted me the grace and power to turn away from it and begin rebuilding my life in a way that is set apart for Him.
Over the last few weeks, the prayer of my heart has been for God to change my attitude. To prioritize my “stuff’ in His priority order. To help me to see “things” as He sees them. But mostly, I want Him to make my heart like His. The truth is, when I am walking with my focus purely on God, the “stuff” in my life is not such a big deal anymore. And God, always faithful to answer, has brought so many positive people across my path, it’s not even funny. My Friend Angela posted, “So thankful to be at home today, getting paid to spend a Holiday with my kids. I’m thankful to have a good job.” Wow! I just sometimes see mine as another thing to check off the to do list. Danni, my regional director, with a gleam in her eye and a heart for service, claims”We never give up!” Trust me, these two are just the tip of the iceberg. But the one that God place front and center is Marianna.
Marianna is a fellow marketer for a senior living community in Arthur. I attended a regional marketers meeting that she hosts at her community every couple of months. It was the first time I had the opportunity to attend and I was a little nervous. Anytime a group of marketers are in the same general vicinity, you best have your “A” game. But last week, the mood was mellow and everyone was having a great time sharing the latest and greatest that was happening in their homes. As the meeting came to a close, Marianna let us know that she was going in for surgery the next day. She said it was one she had been through before and expected to be back to work in a couple of weeks. She went on to tell us that it was breast cancer. Her third round with it. But by golly, she has beat it twice already, what’s one more go round. She went on to talk about her first mastectomy when they brought in the prosthesis-the one they later played football with. She proceeded to tell about how she went to a new hospital the second time, just in case her reputation might have preceeded her at the last hospital. This time, she took her wig to her beautician to “have a little grey” put in it because last time she had cancer, her hair wasn’t quite so white. I don’t know what her conversations with God look like right now. Is she scared? probably. Is she worried? I’m sure. Is she angry? If she is, she’s not vocalizing it. She is continuing on with her life as if this is simply a hurdle that she needs to jump over in order on to proceed to the next leg of the race. Wow! I have tears in my eyes just thinking about it. I left feeling blessed just being in her presence. Blessed that God sent me such a clear message about what He expects my attitude to be, regardless of circumstances. As another Breast Cancer fighter would say, “Regardless of what your circumstances are, someone will ALWAYs have it worse than you.”
God has been weighing the story of Jonah heavy on my heart again. If you get time, read the whole story as if you have never heard it before. So many lessons can be learned, but the one standing out tonight is Jonah’s attitude. His reaction to what God was doing in his life. Twice in chapter four, God asks Jonah, “Is it right for you to be angry?” For a hot head like myself (and Jonah) this is a loaded question. It makes me stop and really evaluate my attitude. Evaluate my motives. What am I angry about? What right do I have to be offended? Doesn’t God promise to take care of it? Whatever “it” is? Psalm 27 brought me comfort this week. If you are facing some “stuff”, I hope you might find comfort too. Here is a little to leave you with:
“One thing that I have desired of the Lord, that will I seek; That I may dwell in the house of the Lord All the days of my life, To behold the beauty of the Lord, And to inquire in His temple. For in the time of trouble He shall hide me in His pavillion; In the secret place of His tabernacle, He shall hide me; He shall set me high upon a rock. And now my head shall be lifted up above my enemies all around me; Therefore I will offer sacrifices of joy in HIs tabernacle; I will sing, yes, I will sing praises to the Lord.” Psalm 27: 4-6
I serve a Lord who is bigger that anything that life can throw at me. I don’t have to ask for victory over my circumstances. He has already given it to me. When and only when I truly believe that will my heart attitude truly be changed.