About a month ago, when Dan 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 repair man to look at our 17 year old air conditioner.
As the repairman worked, Dan 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 I worried more.
The next morning, it was very clear that our air conditioner was not fixable. It was time to replace the machine. Dan 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 Moms in the Making (Moms in the Making – Springfield) on Thursday night and family coming on Friday. I worried it was too hot in the house for the 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 Dan 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 Dan was headed to Home Depot to purchase a couple window air conditioners to hold us over. While Dan shopped, I started praying… but I also worried. We didn’t have time to wait, we needed air conditioning.
While Dan 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! 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 40 minutes to ensure we didn’t have any questions and were comfortable with the cost he was quoting us.
The best part, the company was able to replace our system on Monday…. 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, he 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 spent 3 days in that fish sorting it out with God. It’s in that fish that Jonah realizes He was wrong. After three days, Jonah is vomited onto dry ground and the Lord asks him again to go to Nineveh.
Jonah 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, lately 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 was still full of so much hatred for the people in Nineveh that he literally told God the reason he ran is because he knew God would forgive them. Jonah knew God, the list of attributes is so good, and 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, would I have worried about the air conditioning 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. The past several months have been full of a lot of unknowns for Dan and I, but how much undue stress have I put myself through because I forget the character of God and give into worry?
If I remembered 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. Yes, I am still daily dealing with worry, but now I can stop myself from spending the entire day worrying and say (for example) “Ok, I don’t have to worry about these medical 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.