Grace, even through Jonah
Have you read the book of Jonah lately? We remember it because the middle of it is so dramatic - Jonah being swallowed by a big fish, and living in the fish for three days. It's a very colorful image that sticks with us, even as we learn the story as a child. We might forget some stories in the Bible, but if someone asks, "What happened to Jonah?" we would answer that he was swallowed by a whale.
Digging deeper, though, yields more. Jonah doesn't want to go where God is sending him because he doesn't want God to spare the people of Nineveh. And when that is exactly what happens, Jonah is angry. Isn't that interesting? And isn't that just like us, sometimes. A friend of mine says, "We want mercy for us, and judgment for that other guy."
Have you ever asked God to extend mercy to your enemy? Wouldn't that be an interesting prayer, and possibly what Jesus means when he tells us to pray for our enemies? No wonder Jonah ran away.
But what is also interesting is that God worked through a very reluctant prophet. Do you imagine that Jonah had much commitment to his work? It was probably a good chance to be angry with the Ninevites, and to tell them how horrible they were. Even so, it is amazing to me that God's work could be done through all of that anger and hatred. Lives were transformed.
Just another reason why we call it amazing grace. Unbelievable that it can work through me, even in my anger toward someone else.