Last summer, after my husband came home after work, he said the dreaded words no homeowner wants to hear in July (especially in Missouri). “I don’t think our air conditioner is working.” After a short time of denial, we called a repairman to look at our 17-year-old air conditioner.
As the repairman worked, my husband watched, and I sat inside and worried. It was Friday night, and we had so much going on. This was not the way I wanted to spend our evening. The longer the repairman worked, the more I worried. Until, finally, I felt the cool air blowing. It felt like I could breathe again.
However, two hours later, the system starting acting up again. So we turned off the machine and hoped that it was just overheated. We went to bed, and while my husband slept, I worried more.
The next morning, it was very clear that our air conditioner was not fixable. It was time to replace the machine. My husband had to work, and I spent the morning worrying. I worried about our schedule. I had a medical procedure on Tuesday that was going to require me to recover at home much of the day. I had women coming to my house for a small group meeting on Thursday night and family coming on Friday. I worried it was too hot in the house for our cats. I worried about our finances. I know it’s crazy, but I worried that the house would somehow break down more in the heat. The more I worried, the sillier my worries became.
After my husband got off work, he called me to tell me he had talked to the repairman that had come out the previous night. The repairman said he could come get measurements, but he couldn’t give us a quote until at least Monday. So my husband headed to Home Depot to purchase a couple of window air conditioners to hold us over. While my husband shopped, I told him I was praying, but honestly, I just worried. We didn’t have time to wait; we needed air conditioning now.
While my husband was at Home Depot, he asked if they could give us a bid to replace our air conditioner. Home Depot said absolutely and explained their contractor would contact us in 24-48 hours with more information.
Within an hour, we got a call from the Home Depot contractor and just a few hours later, the company arrived at our house.
Not only was this company specialized in our system, the contractor barely looked at our system and knew the exact model number off the top of his head. Yes, he recognized our 17-year-old machine by model number with only one look! Not only did he know our system, he knew exactly what we needed to ensure our house would stay cool. He talked to us for forty minutes to ensure we didn’t have any questions and were comfortable with the cost he was quoting us.
The best part was the company was able to replace our system on Monday! I felt so seen and so heard by God. Quite frankly, I also felt a little like a brat. I had worried so much!
Most of us know the story of Jonah. God asks Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach salvation to the people there. Jonah not only refuses, but he also gets on a boat and runs the complete opposite direction. While on the boat, a huge storm comes and Jonah tells the men on the boat to throw him over.
After a bit of arguing, the men finally agree to throw Jonah overboard. Then, a huge fish swallows Jonah. Jonah spends 3 days in that fish sorting it out with God. It’s in that fish that Jonah realizes He is wrong. After three days, Jonah is vomited onto dry ground and the Lord asks him again to go to Nineveh.
Jonah, chapter 3 is probably one of the biggest salvation stories in the bible. An entire city that was evil and set in their ways repents after only 3 days of Jonah sharing. It’s beautiful. For most of us, that’s where the story ends. However, I was reading and was reminded there is a 4th chapter in Jonah. The story isn’t over after Nineveh turns back to God.
In Jonah 4:1-3, Jonah says what I think are some of the most bratty words in the Bible (this is the Christian Standard Bible translation):
Jonah was greatly displeased and became furious. He prayed to the Lord: “Please, Lord, isn’t this what I thought while I was still in my own country? That’s why I fled toward Tarshish in the first place. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger, abounding in faithful love, and one who relents from sending disaster. And now, Lord, take my life from me, for it is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah had just been part of one of the biggest miracles to date. Yet he is still full of so much hatred for the people in Nineveh that he literally tells God the reason he ran, which is because he knew God would forgive them. Jonah knew God, the list of His attributes is so good, yet he still ran.
I have been thinking about how ridiculously bratty Jonah was, and it’s changed my perspective so much. Let’s change Jonah’s question around a bit here. When my air conditioning stopped working, if I would have stopped for even two minutes and thought about God’s attributes – who God really is – would I have worried about the situation so much?
Our weekend without air conditioning ended up being one of the sweetest weekends of our summer. We camped out in our bedroom (by the window air conditioner) and watched movies. We laughed so much and made such good memories. It’s what my body needed, and honestly, it’s what my heart needed.
Here’s the thing, worry is a real emotion. However, allowing that emotion to spiral us out of control is not okay. Last summer was full of a lot of unknowns for my husband and me, but how much undue stress did I put myself through because I forgot the character of God and let worry root into my heart?
If I would remember that God knows no boundaries, is without measure, is faithful and unchangeable – how would that affect my worry?
If I remembered God’s heart is for healing and restoration and His plan is good – how would that affect my worry?
These questions have completely and totally changed my perspective. These questions haven’t magically taken all my worries away; however, now I can stop myself from spending the entire day worrying and, instead, say (for example), “Ok, I don’t have to worry about these bills because I know God will provide for all my needs. In fact, He already has – He provided an air conditioner!”
Today, I want to challenge you to use Jonah’s bratty question to change your perspective. The next time you are feeling sad, worried, confused, or stressed – ask yourself how the attributes of God can change those emotions and keep you from spiraling out of control into them. I promise: changing your perspective changes everything.
This is an updated edition of a post originally published on borderless.blog
Featured Image by Sara Mediavilla
In-Text Image Vladislav Nikonov