It’s blueberry season. We love blueberries at our house. And besides that, it’s the only natural thing most doctor’s will mutter at me when I visit them. Under their breath they’ll whisper something like “you might want to eat blueberries.” like they can’t believe they’re encouraging something that doesn’t require a prescription. So enough doctors have eeked out the word blueberries (and green tea), and enough studies have been read, that I eat blueberries, and I pick them and stash large quantities in my freezer for the winter.
It’s a family tradition for us to head west towards the lake (Lake Michigan that is) where most of the blueberry farms are located. Our favorite lately has been True Blue Farms near Bangor. Then we head over to the beach for the afternoon.
My kids love the IDEA of picking blueberries. But that usually fades within minutes under the sun. We head out with our buckets, down the rows of blueberries looking for the perfect spot, which is usually way back at the very back of the field. And it never fails, as soon as we get situated in a good spot, someone has to go to the bathroom. Elijah is usually good peeing and pooping anywhere, but Meleah, no, she’ll whine till one of us gives in to take her back to the bathrooms. Pooping is such a big deal in our family I don’t know why it doesn’t occur to me to always make sure my kids go to the bathroom before we go anywhere. And with my little Meleah, the minute we either take our first bite of food at dinner or arrive in a designated location, she will have to go to the bathroom.
And there’s really nothing more unappetizing then having to go wipe children when they poop during dinner.
She always times poop so perfectly.
So we were out in the middle of the blueberry patch and it started.
“I have to go to the bathroom mommy.”
“No I won’t squat.”
“You use leaves to wipe your butt mommy! Gross! I am totally NOT doing that!”
“I don’t feel good mommy.”
“Yada, yada, yada, yada, yada!”
“Is it time to go yet mommy?”
Until finally I just yelled, “either squat here or go sit under a bush and sulk like Jonah.”
Leave it to me, mother and pastor, to bring up the Bible out of anger in the middle of a blueberry patch.
“Mommy, who is Jonah?”
Jeremy is now like “now you did it Jen, now you’ve got to finish this little Bible lesson you started.”
So then I had to explain Jonah.
“Do you remember the man who was swallowed by a fish in the Bible honey?”
“Yes mommy,” she says.
“Well, after he was spit out of the whale he did what God wanted, he went to Ninevah to warn the people that God wasn’t happy with them for what they were doing, and even though they believed Jonah, Jonah still got angry and he went and pouted under a tree.” (Jonah 4)
(This is why none of you are named Jonah honey, because even though mommy really likes the name Jonah, daddy doesn’t like that the last we see of Jonah, he is pouting kids. Ok, so I didn’t say that, but I totally thought it….lol)
So if the people believed Jonah, why did he sulk? Why did he pout?
I can’t help but wonder if all the while God was preparing Jonah’s heart through the experience of the whale, and facing the Ninevites, Jonah was far more concerned about himself. He just couldn’t see beyond the end of his nose that God was developing something good in Jonah.
When he left Ninevah, even though the Ninevites repented and believed, Jonah was still irked about the whole ordeal. He didn’t think God should have mercy on the Ninevites.
Maybe he was still ticked because he had been forced in to something he didn’t really want to do.
I mean, who really wants to go tell a city they’re going to be destroyed if they don’t get their act together? Hmmm…”angry mob” comes to mind?
Maybe he had missed God’s mercy on his life and couldn’t understand how God would show mercy to the Ninevites?
God had been preparing Jonah for this task, yet Jonah never saw how God was shaping his heart towards compassion on the Ninevites. To bring the same message of love and compassion and forgiveness to the Ninevites, that God had already bestowed on Jonah.
He was too self-focused.
I read this great little thought about how God was preparing Jonah:
“I would suggest to some of you here who have to bear double trouble that God may be preparing you for double usefulness, or he may be working out of you some unusual form of evil which might not be driven out of you unless his Holy Spirit had used these mysterious methods with you to teach you more fully his mind.” (Spurgeon)
I have been far too concerned lately with what God has not done in my life, than what He has done already. You would think cancer would have shaped me up for good, but what can I say, we are forgetful people in constant need of God’s gentle nudges.
We forget God prepares us in every journey and in every task. We are constant God-learners.
I love the idea that double trouble could in fact lead to double usefulness.
But not if we’re an angry sulking mess, unwilling to remember God’s mercy.
It took a whiny little girl, in the middle of a blueberry patch on a hot day to remind me of God’s faithfulness even when we don’t deserve it.