Of all the characters mentioned in scripture, I identify most readily with Jonah. I have felt the Lord’s love and received messages through His Holy Spirit, but most of the time I find myself running away from Him. Typically I flee by watching TV. And then there’s the resentment. With Jonah it was Ninevah. With me (today) it was stake conference. It is so easy for me to judge (i.e. condemn) others for not seeing or approaching things the way I do. I compare my strengths against their weaknesses (the more visible the better) and declare myself the moral victor in a completely unfair showdown. Why do I consider my intentions equal to their failings? In seeking justification (i.e. a desire to be made right or just), why do I prefer to compare myself against an unjust rule (i.e. a crooked ruler). Until I compare myself against the only truly straight edge–Christ–all comparison is meaningless. And once I do compare myself against Him I am forced to recognize that I am totally crooked. Only when I give up trying to make myself straight can I begin to see the universe clearly. Only He who is perfect can make me whole. I think that’s why Jesus taught, regarding the woman taken in adultery, “He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her,” and not “He that is without THAT sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.”
Jonah’s story is interesting because once he entered in by the path, he wanted things to go the way he thought best. He forgot to recognize God’s hand in all things (i.e. the appearance overnight of a gourd to shield him from the sun), but quickly complained when God removed the gourd the next day. “And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in all things…” (D&C 59:21) I pray God will grant me the faith and understanding to welcome all aspects of the life He has arranged for me, including the good and bad, easy and inconvenient, soft and hard.