Negative emotions typically are a progressive trend downward. Fear gives way to anger and then hatred. Every person struggles with negative emotions. Some manifest in anxiety, and others in anger. One common thread between all negative emotions is the results are not how we want to be, and often, it stems from having lost control of a situation or response to trauma.
In Jonah 4, we see Jonah react angrily toward God because he expected destruction but observed mercy. It didn’t seem fair to Jonah that the wicked Assyrians would be given a second chance. In fact, the attributes of God that Jonah loved were the cause of his anger when they were demonstrated to people he felt didn’t deserve it.
Can you relate? We often justify our anger or wrongful actions when expectations are unmet. The truth is that Jonah, and we, really do not want God to be anything other than God. If the Maker of the Seas were otherwise, Jonah would have been fish food. If the Lord failed to be as merciful to us as He is to our enemies, we all would perish and wouldn’t have an angry prayer to scream at Him. The divine freedom that gives one child overprotective parents is the same mercy that gives any of us parents at all. The mercy that keeps one marriage from immorality is the same mercy that is patient when your spouse needs great improvement in your eyes. That patience that gives you a house is the same one that will alleviate your financial problems when God is ready for them to be liquidated.
My point is that we can all find ourselves at moments when we question God’s justice in relation to God’s mercy. This is where Jonah was. Is it also where you are today?