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The Lord replied, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Jonah 4:4
It became painfully clear the first time my wife and I collaborated on a writing project that procrastination was going to be a major obstacle. Her role was to edit my work and keep me on schedule; my role seemed to be to drive her crazy. Most times, her organization and patience outlasted my resistance to deadlines and direction.
I promised to have a certain amount of writing done by the end of one day. For the first hour, I plugged away diligently. Satisfied with what I’d accomplished so far, I decided to take a break. Before I knew it, my time was up. In trouble for sure, I thought of a way out. I set about doing a couple of chores my wife despised and which always netted me praise when I did them.
I sometimes play the same games with God. He brings specific people into my life He wants me to serve or tasks He wants me to accomplish. Like Jonah, who went another way when God gave Him an assignment (Jonah 4:2), I need to set aside my own feelings. I often try to impress God with good deeds or spiritual activity when what He really wants is obedience to His priorities. Inevitably, my plan fails.
Are you dodging duties God makes clear He wants you to tackle? Trust me: Real contentment comes from doing it in His strength and in His way.
Loving Father, help us to recognize our busyness and distractions for what they so often are—disobedience and inattention to the work You have given us to do.
Obedience pleases God.
In Exodus 34 God describes Himself as “the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love . . . forgiving wickedness . . . and sin” (vv. 6–7). It is ironic that these divine attributes angered Jonah (Jonah 4:1), who wanted Nineveh destroyed, not forgiven. This was the very reason he initially refused to go to the Ninevites to preach God’s message of repentance and forgiveness (v. 2).