When I think about my own relationship with God, I remember the story of Jonah. This morning, instead of reading just the first three verses of the Book for my irregular daily devotions, I read the whole Book. Reading it made me face the fact that I am being rebellious again despite my attempts to mask the attitude.
“Have you any right to be angry?” the LORD asked Jonah on two separate occasions.
And I found myself in the same boat as Jonah, being asked the same question.
No, I have not been faithfully reading my Bible lately or being obedient to God’s Word for that matter. My prayers are too shallow–I recite them with no feelings at all. Sometimes, I would only pray because my children urge me to lead them or because the situation seems to call for it. And because I have not been meditating on God’s Word, I get easily irritated or angered lately.
So why am I acting rebellious again? What’s making me feel angry that sometimes, like Jonah, I felt “angry enough to die”?
Let’s see. One, as of the last counting, there are two cysts on my thyroid gland. I have been praying to God to take them away, even cried and fell flat on my face as I prayed numerous times, but well, I can still see the bulge on my throat. My operation’s supposed to take place next month, but that is not likely to happen. I have not saved up anything for my medical expenses, there’s no one to look after my children during my operation and recuperation period, and I don’t think my whole being will ever be ready for it. I just want God to take them away without me having to go through any surgery.
Two, since I could not enroll this term, I have–for sure–lost my scholarship. The school allows the filing of LOA only once for scholarship students / financial grantees. This would be the second time for me, which would mean forfeiture. I know I have decided to give it up for now because it’s unfair to my children–waking them up early on a Saturday morning even if it’s raining, just to dump them in my father’s house in another city so I could attend school. Besides, they need more of me to help them with their school work. I guess I am angry because I have no idea when I would be able to go back to school and finish my graduate studies and because I cringe at the idea of having to pay my tuition and miscellaneous fees in full all by myself on my next enrollment.
Three, my eldest child did not perform well in school last year and now that she’s back to that same old school that I have come to dislike, I am very apprehensive on how things will turn out this year. The administration would not accommodate my request to transfer her to another class handled by supposedly the best teacher in that grade level.
Why do I want her transferred? Because her class adviser last year was such a bogus and I am very uncomfortable that they’re giving my daughter again to an incompetent or inexperienced teacher in their school. And yes, because all throughout my elementary school days I was in section one, so I am very disappointed that my daughter didn’t make it to the star section this year. I thought it was very unfair especially that we were able to establish the incompetency of her former class adviser. Hence, my daughter’s skills were not properly assessed and she did not reach her full potential because of her.
And then there are all those little things that add up and start looking like mountains to me: areas in the house that need to be fixed but my landlord chooses to ignore, my deceased dog’s ticks that still plague us, the fact that I still haven’t found a school service for my younger daughter, and having very limited financial resources, plus debts to pay and very little savings.
I am getting very irritable lately. Indeed, a messy room and a child that would not instantly obey are like red flags being waved before me.
Moreover, I refuse to pray for and totally forgive my in-laws, especially my mother-in-law. Because like Jonah, I knew that God is gracious and compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in love, and relents from sending a calamity (Jonah 4:1-3), especially when He sees sincere repentance. I want Him to punish my in-laws instead for all the wrongs they had done to me and my relatives. I do not want Him to forgive them easily, especially when they have not even apologized to me.
But then, have I any right to be angry?
Despite my (little) acts of rebelliousness and irrationality, I know that God continues to care for me and my family. He never loses hope in me and He loves me despite my iniquities. Moreover, my rebelliousness only separates me from Him and my loved ones, especially my children.
No, I don’t have any right to be angry, especially with Him. He isn’t only God or a Father to me. He’s a God to everyone else, too. His love, compassion, and forgiveness aren’t just for me, but to all other sinners like me as well. I just have to accept that fact and be the light that I ought to be.