But this was very displeasing to Jonah, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord and said, “O Lord! Is not this what I said while I was still in my own country? That is why I fled to Tarshish at the beginning, for I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in steadfast love, and relenting from punishment. And now, O Lord, please take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.” And the Lord said, “Is it right for you to be angry?” Then Jonah went out of the city and sat down east of the city and made a booth for himself there. He sat under it in the shade, waiting to see what would become of the city.
Reflection. The whole city of Nineveh has repented in sack cloth and ashes. God has seen this and relented from punishment. And Jonah's reaction is to lose it. Think of this for a moment: people repent, God acts with grace, Jonah throws a wobbly. This seems ridiculous. Surely, Jonah should rejoice at God's generosity and grace. Yet, how do you feel when someone doesn't appear to receive a just punishment? How do I?
There is a balance to be struck between justice and mercy. My feeling is that God leans towards mercy. At least, He seems to do so when he looks at me. What about you? Isn't the Cross about justice and mercy...with greatest depth of love ever thrown our way.
Prayer. Lord Jesus, may I incarnate your grace and mercy today. Amen