The prophet Jonah is one of the most intriguing characters in the OT. He was a prophet who preached repentance, but he actually wished for the destruction of those to whom he was sent to preach. We all know the story, how that Jonah rebelled and took a ship in the opposite direction of Nineveh. A great fish swallowed him for three days and three nights. Finally, Jonah gave in, preached, and Nineveh was spared. But Jonah was angry and prayed that the Lord would take away his life (Jonah 4:1-3). Nevertheless, the Lord continued to work with Jonah, through severe heat, a vehement east wind, and a withered gourd.
Above it all stands the grace and mercy of God. The Lord wasn’t aiming to destroy Jonah when he was swallowed by the whale and taken to the depths of the sea. Neither was He looking to kill Jonah when he fainted several weeks later in the blistering heat. Certainly, God was chastening Jonah, but He was also correcting him out of love. God was working in the prophet’s life for him to yield to the Lord’s will. All the while God was very gracious and merciful to Jonah.
Do you see yourself in Jonah? When we go wayward, the Lord chastens us, but not to harm us. He is correcting us out of love. Many times, the Lord allows us to get a taste of life on our own in order to drive us back to Him. All the while, God is being very gracious and merciful to us.