The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!” And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth.
When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, removed his robe, covered himself with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. Then he had a proclamation made in Nineveh: “By the decree of the king and his nobles: No human being or animal, no herd or flock, shall taste anything. They shall not feed, nor shall they drink water. Human beings and animals shall be covered with sackcloth, and they shall cry mightily to God. All shall turn from their evil ways and from the violence that is in their hands. Who knows? God may relent and change his mind; he may turn from his fierce anger, so that we do not perish.”
When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
I believe that God wants us to be happy joyous and free, and does not Will for us to know evil or suffering in our lives. However, suffering still occurs all over the world, and in so many lives, because our world is imperfect.
Of course I cannot speak for all single parents, but for many of us there is a reason why we are raising our children alone, it could be due to a broken relationship, death, or separation due to work, imprisonment, illness or service to nation. Regardless of how we became single parents, it is safe to assume that there was some pain involved in the process; some reason for mourning, and to see the world as unfair. When feeling this way, it can give us strength and hope to remember that it is not God’s will that pain should come into our lives, or into the lives of our children.
Okay, so you may be wondering how I KNOW that God does not will for us to be in pain? I believe this because I believe that God’s grace surrounds us always, and for that reason good people have been put into our lives by God to help us to deal with the challenges of life, and to offer us support in the midst of our pain. I believe that God does not want us to suffer because we were given the gift of Christ…who calls upon us to take off the sackcloth and wash away the ashes, and who tells us that our time for mourning is over, as we are all bathed in the light of his resurrection, the hope of the world, and of our lives…even when it feels like hope is far away.
Through the gift of new life in Christ, and the gift of love shared with those around us, family, friends and our children, there is reason to rejoice and to put aside our mourning, as we seek to live as God wishes us to be: happy, joyous and free!
Let us Pray
God, thank you for giving us hope and surrounding us with your love. Thank you for always being with us, and for wanting only the best for us, just as we want the best for our children. When we find ourselves in mourning, please help us to find the strength to take off the sackcloth, and wash away the ashes when the time is right, and to embrace the gift of grace, and of life with our children, and with those we love.