I just read a wonderful post from the Resurgence blog. It gives me a lot of hope knowing that God has appointed my circumstances. He is pursuing me, even in my times of complacency and rebellion. Thanks be to God!
Jonah was an obnoxious character.
He was delivered from the fish, saw a great revival, but still missed the point. God could so easily have turned his back on Jonah, but he didn’t. God loved him enough to keep working on him. God loves the unlovely and is committed to winning and transforming them.
God Is Patient
When I look back over my own life, I’m amazed at God’s patience. I would have given up on myself ages ago. Maybe you feel the same way. Sometimes we shocked ourselves when we see how selfish and sinful we are. God has always known what’s underneath, but he isn’t deterred. He loves to see us grow, and every now and then it takes some pruning from him in order to realign our hearts with his and be able to produce more fruit in the future.
God Appoints Circumstances
Let’s look at Jonah. While Jonah sat outside Nineveh, the sun climbed high in the sky. As the temperature rose, Jonah wondered how long he would have to wait in the sweltering heat before God judged the Ninevites. God looked down on him, took pity, and “appointed a plant” (Jonah 4:6). The vine grew over Jonah and sheltered him, and Jonah was “exceedingly” happy with this expression of God’s grace. He was, however, not so happy when God in that same grace spared the lives of the Ninevites, appointed a worm to chew through the vine, and also sent a scorching east wind increasing Jonah’s discomfort (Jonah 4:7-8).
God loves the unlovely and is committed to winning and transforming them.
In his grace, God appoints circumstances for us. Sometimes he gives you a plant to protect you and show you that he is taking care of you. Sometimes God appoints a worm to remove the shade and sends a scorching east wind to blow down on us. It’s the same loving God at work, but he’s working in different ways. His purpose is to transform us into the image of his Son, and he will appoint whatever is appropriate at the time to bring about this goal.
East Winds Are Uncomfortable
Have you encountered any scorching east winds recently? You long for protection but it’s not there. Life’s uncomfortable. Sometimes the east wind seems to come from nowhere. Suddenly, we find we’re facing hostility and opposition, and we cry out for God to give us shelter and strength. But God replies, “No. In my love, I’ve appointed the east wind for you. Receive it from me.” Jonah hated the wind and railed against it.
East Winds Shape Your Character
In the New Testament, The apostle Paul’s attitude to his “east wind” was totally different. A “thorn was given me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan, to harass me” (2 Corinthians 12:7). God removed his protecting hand there and allowed Satan to prevent Paul from becoming proud of his revelations. Three times Paul pleaded with God to remove it, but God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” The apostle joyfully accepted this because “I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). Paul allowed the east wind to shape his character and bring glory to God.
Since God appoints circumstances to change your character, don’t fight everything that comes your way. By all means pray and ask God to intervene and learn the lesson intended. Let him use the scorching heat to form the image of his Son in you and rejoice as you go through it because he does it out of love for you as sons and daughters (Heb. 12:6).
Source: People are a Work in Progress