“Angry enough to die”

In today’s reading, the prophet Jonah became so frustrated with God for not carrying out the evil He’d threatened against Nineveh that Jonah said, “I would be better off dead than alive.”

Then, when God asked Jonah if he had reason to be angry, Jonah responded with pathos, “I have reason to be angry. Angry enough to die.”

Recently, I met up with a friend who I hadn’t seen for quite some time. We were having one of those conversations that immediately cuts to the heart.

“What have you wrestled with God over lately?” my friend asked, as though this were a casual question friends discuss after years apart. “What has caused you even to be angry with Him?”

The deepest friendships and the deepest relationships admit such pathos and consternation.

Yet, often we treat prayer and conversation as though it were a performance, expecting it to be sanitized by conventionality.

Jonah saying that he is angry enough to die is not so much a wish for death as it is an expression of vulnerability and intimacy.

When our loved ones express their anguish in similar terms, it is not so much surrender but supplication.

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