6 Then the LORD God provided a leafy plant and made it grow up over Jonah to give shade for his head to ease his discomfort, and Jonah was very happy about the plant. 7 But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the plant so that it withered. 8 When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint.
7 (LORD), Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
This is the third chance that God gives Jonah to respond to his heart of compassion.
Here we see the extraordinary lengths that God goes to in order to have Jonah make a compassionate response: God grows a leafy plant, gives shade to Jonah, a worm the next day, a withered plant, the sun and a scorching east wind!
God’s love for us is extra-extra-extraordinary! It is so totally undeserved. God’s patience and persistence show his mercy and goodness towards us, even as we have turned our back on his grace, time after time. The loving God who pursued the reluctant and wayward Jonah pursues each one of us. The God who kept on keeping on after Jonah, keeps on after us with love, grace and generosity. God seeks our loving response to him.
How do I express my gratitude for God’s grace? What lengths has God had to go to in my life to get my attention? What have I seen of God this past week? In what ways has God been calling my attention to him and his ways in the world?
Persistent God, give me eyes to see and ears to hear your Spirit at work in my life and in the lives of those around me. Give me a heart to love you and to love what you love. Give me hands to work for you and lips to praise you, ever thankful for your compassion and grace. Amen.