This is a question that God himself asks Jonah. I cannot even begin to imagine having the voice of God reigning down on my ears, but I do have His words in my face, asking me: Kelsey, do you do well to be angry?
Last spring I was reading through Jonah, our middle son loves the story of Jonah getting swallowed up by a whale/big fish and I thought I would study it a bit more and really get to know the story so he and I could talk about it. Jonah’s story is fascinating, and in so many parts, completely relatable. Right off the bat we find God has commanded Jonah to go to the city of Nineveh and “call out against their evil” (chapter one, verse one). God is asking Jonah to do a HUGE thing here, go and spread His name to the people of Nineveh, give them a chance to repent!
Jonah thinks he can disappear from the presence of the Lord.
He thinks this so much that he buys a ticket to go on a ship in the opposite direction. Thinking he can escape God. God watches all of this, throws a storm at the ship, provides a way out for the sailors (who feared God) by throwing Jonah overboard (Jonah’s suggestion), who God then rescues! from the sea. AND THEN God handpicks a fish to go and rescue Jonah, thus providing Jonah some quiet time.
Jonah takes this time to pray to God, giving thanks and recognizing God’s almighty saving power. So, God has the fish spit him out, right where he needs to be to go and share with Nineveh. God, again, says, “go.” This time Jonah goes and cries out to the city and they believe!! They believe and repent. God sees this and grants them mercy, turns away his wrath.
Jonah gets MAD! He yells at God, and argues with him! Because he knows that He is, a gracious God and merciful, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from disaster,” (Jonah 4:2) and God has saved Nineveh in that great mercy. God responds with: Do you do well to be angry?
God does not throw down lightning bolts, or cause an earthquake to destroy Jonah, although he (we) deserved it. God simply asks him a question, forcing Jonah to think about what he is saying/doing. This question gets me every time. I can hear God asking me, every time I get mad at our boys, frustrated with this, that or the other things and lose my temper. Kelsey, do you do well to be angry?
Our God so full of compassion, mercy, grace, His steadfast love, protecting me from utter disaster. Kelsey, my daughter, whom I love, do you do well to be angry?
My husband and I spent about a month talking about God’s incredible patience with Jonah (who also got mad at God for killing a plant), and wondering to what purpose does our anger serve? In our daily lives, on a drive to work, getting through the grocery store (with it’s incredible convenience), walking our way through the day with our children, at our jobs, dealing with family and friend drama/trauma, in any of our normal circumstances, I would like to strongly encourage you to slow down and ask yourself:
Do I do well to be angry?
And read Jonah. It is such a short book that, more than likely, you will be able to read it multiple times and be able to dig down deep into it. You will find in Jonah pieces of yourself, you will see God’s mercy for someone just like you and you will find comfort in God’s amazing attention to detail, his steadfast love, and grace.
God bless, friend.
(Small side note: I would like to emphasize the NORMAL part of the circumstances. I would never question anyone’s wrestling with God on big life altering changes happening in their lives. A very dear friend lost one of their closest friends suddenly yesterday. I would never challenge, downplay, or ask someone to move quickly through their grief. Life is hard, I pray every day that Jesus would come back quickly. Until then, I am praying for you today! Do not feel rushed to move through your emotions, but self-reflection is so good, looking at our daily circumstances and taking a step back to see if we really do, do well to be angry.)