Tag Archives: repentance

Veil of Tears 106: Scorched

Hi all! I took a couple of days’ break for the launch of the new book “The Garden of God’s Heart.” Did you miss me? But now I am back with more from the Veil of Tears. The Landscape of Love will also be making an occasional comeback, mainly on a Friday. Since it is full summer here, “Scorched” seems as good a place to pick up as any…….

 

106 scorched warning-577062_1920 pixabay

When the sun rose, God provided a scorching east wind, and the sun blazed on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. He wanted to die, and said, “It would be better for me to die than to live.” Jonah 4:8 NIV

Being chronically ill, the sometimes fierce summer sun is too much for me. I put on my straw hat and venture into the back garden, then find I’m wilting and on the verge of a headache within minutes. So most days at this time of year it’s a slow and short stumble about with my camera to get a few shots of the beauty on my doorstep to take back in and treasure, then back to the cool of my indoor world. I can’t imagine how people in hot countries manage and I certainly empathise with poor Jonah, his head searing in the full sun. No wonder he is so angry and irrational (one might even say hot-headed)!

We can get scorched by other things in this life too, sailing too near to the sun as we do in so many ways. We can be hurt by the flames of passion, the thrill of risk-taking, the abuse of substances, the sting of betrayal. So much of life leaves us “once bitten, twice shy,” rubbing our sore pates and shouting “I’m so angry I could die!” at the God who seemingly sent the worm to eat away our protection.

But there is little to be gained from railing at God, though this is allowed, nor from shaking our fists at the weather, or whatever may have glanced us a burning blow. Instead of or as well as this, we need to hear the lesson implicit in the narrow escape. Life may well be trying to get our attention. And frequently our anger is a catalyst to learning something new about our circumstances or ourselves. God is trying to show Jonah that his anger is misplaced, that he should be at least as compassionate to others as he is about his own injuries. How often, I wonder, do we imagine we have been wronged, and seek to rise to anger, when our ire should really be roused by the terrible injustices we know are visited on others?

Near misses should be pathways to compassion, and in Jonah’s case, joy and thankfulness, that things were not far, far worse, both for him and for the city of Nineveh. Sometimes we are nursing a sulking wound instead of thanking the Lord for his great mercies. I have been doing that today, and thinking on this verse has made me smile at my foolishness and turn to God with a grateful heart.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyatt

Photo from Pixabay

 

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45: Forgotten

DCF 1.0

Yet my people have forgotten me; they burn incense to worthless idols, which made them stumble in their ways, in the ancient paths. They made them walk in byways, on roads not built up.” Jeremiah 18:15 NIV

You’d think if someone had rescued you from slavery, shown you a myriad of miracles, provided food and water for you in the desert, led you into new territories, helped you win countless battles and been present with you through the tough times and the good, that you would be hard pressed to forget them.

Yet this is exactly what the Israelites did to God. Now read that first paragraph again, thinking of yourself. Isn’t this also what we do to the Lord? He has given us salvation, miracles, provision, protection and help more times than we even know, and yet, is he the One before whom we set our praise? Or do other idols get more of our time and devotion? Is our work, our family, our money, our social life, our standing, bigger than God in our hearts?

It is never a bad idea to go into prayer asking these questions honestly of ourselves. There is invariably something that we have set up as a false idol, even if it is a skewed idea of God himself. Love must be our centre, our focal point, the fulcrum of all we do and live and believe.

It is oh so easy to fall away from that centre, to become engrossed or distracted by problems, circumstances, entertainments. But I do encourage us all to keep turning our faces and our worship, and perhaps particularly our gratitude, back to the Lord of all, who is the keeper and knower of our hearts, the maker and centre of our universe, the King of wonder and awe, the fount of all loving mercy. For there is nothing worth setting up before or ahead of him, and we do ourselves an injury every time we forget his glorious goodness.

 

©Keren Dibbens-Wyattt

Photo from morguefile.com