The Prophet Jonah’s Blame Game

The prophet Jonah was living a peaceful life. Suddenly, God comes into the picture and points a finger at Jonah. He is to proceed with haste to the Assyrian city of Nineveh to preach a message of death to its sinful inhabitants. Disturbed at the prospect of completing a dangerous and complicated task, Jonah takes a ship in the opposite direction. The sailors, finding themselves facing a violent storm, take a long, hard look at Jonah and decide to ditch him. At Nineveh, when the mayhem he prophesied did not come to fruition, he fires off a sarcastic I-told-you-so to God for being God and showing mercy.

 Such is the merry-go-round of blame in Jonah’s life. He felt that his life turned upside down because God called him. He disliked having his tranquil existence broken. Why did God have to send a storm? He did not relish being dumped into a turbulent sea and climbing up bedraggled into the gaping mouth of a big fish. Also, why did God not proceed with the plan to level Nineveh? He did not come to Nineveh only to see the Assyrians escape death. All at once, everything became too much for Jonah to handle.

When one is angry or feels like injustice was heaped, uninvited, upon one’s person, it is easy to play the blame game. One does not, anymore, consider that it may be partly one’s fault because it is always someone else’s. A closer examination would have revealed, however, that things may have happened or escalated because one failed to exercise his duties and responsibilities. In Jonah’s case, a prophet’s role is to preach and follow closely God’s instructions. There was an omission or failure on Jonah’s part. There are instances, though, that God, by design, sends difficulties our way to test our resolve, impart lessons, and make us grow. After all, the pain and discouragement we experience in life only make us stronger and humbled. When we are covered with humility, that is when we turn to God, as Jonah did.

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