Removing Deeper Hurts
Jonah 4:4-8

We were entirely ready to have God remove these defects of character.

When we are upset, we often depend on our addictions to make us feel better. But as we get rid of our addictions, we then face the deeper character defects that God wants to heal. Our addictions function as places of "shelter" from our pain. But when those "shelters" are removed, deep anger may surface, exposing yet deeper character flaws that need healing.

Jonah had a glaring defect of character: he couldn't seem to forgive and have compassion on the people he hated. When God decided not to destroy them, Jonah threw a temper tantrum. "The LORD replied, 'Is it right for you to be angry about this?' Then Jonah went out to the east side of the city and made a shelter to sit under. . . . And the LORD God arranged for a leafy plant to grow there, and soon it spread its broad leaves over Jonah's head, shading him from the sun. . . . The next morning . . . [the plant] withered away. And as the sun grew hot, God arranged for a scorching east wind to blow on Jonah. The sun beat down on his head until he grew faint and wished to die" (Jonah 4:4-8).

God did this to show Jonah that the real problem wasn't the loss of his shelter. Hatred was the real problem. The removal of our sheltering addictions may expose deeper problems. This may spark defensive anger as God touches our deepest hurts. It's all right to let the anger out. But it's also important to let God take the real problem, too.

We can bring our anger to God; he's big enough to handle it lovingly.