Those Blessed Worms

January 7, 2022
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Listen while you read: "There Is A Green Hill Far Away"1 (Lyrics)

Jonah 4:7 – But at dawn the next day God provided a worm, which chewed the vine so that it withered. (NIV)

Today, I'd like to spotlight those little annoyances which subtly chew holes in our orderly lives. Perhaps, it's yet another telemarketer or an insensitive remark. These may not feel like a big deal, or they may trouble us greatly. Regardless, we don't instinctively view them as God's special instruments for drawing us to Himself. From that perspective, we can call them "those blessed worms".

That's not how the Bible prophet Jonah viewed his own "blessed worm" encounter. Because we might find ourselves identifying with Jonah's feelings, it's worth examining this portion of Scripture, from Jonah 4:5-10.

A worm had chewed up the vine which provided shade for Jonah. This exposed Jonah to the scorching heat, and — most significantly — to his hard-heartedness. God, the divine therapist, strategically used this minor crisis to zero in on Jonah's problem. Essentially, God told Jonah, "You are more concerned about yourself than about the entire population of Nineveh. You are so utterly self-absorbed that you have no mercy for those lost sinners! You are more absorbed in your own interests than theirs — or Mine!"

Compare that to our own "blessed worms" encounters. Like Jonah, we may get ticked off. Perhaps, we excuse our over-reaction, blaming it on circumstances or stress. Did we sense God's Spirit tapping our consciences and tenderly convicting us of our selfishness? Did we discover ourselves to be more concerned about our own interests than about the interests of others, including our troublers? Did we humbly accept God's verdict and admit our need for mercy?

Did we enjoy the taste of God's tender forgiveness? That's when we would appreciate those "worms" as intended: as blessings provided by God.

James 1:2-3 – Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds [those blessed worms], because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. (NIV)

Jonah's angry reaction exposed a particularly devious motive that we must not overlook. Jonah longed to see vengeance on the wrongdoers while expecting favourable treatment for himself. Jonah had no taste for mercy for others, or even for himself. His self-centredness had corrupted his entire sense of justice.

We may discover this bent in ourselves only after we've experienced deliberate mistreatment. We instinctively want punitive action: "Teach them a lesson!" Of course, that's not an expression of God's heart for sinners. If we had God's heart, we'd grieve for our offenders and long to see them transformed and mercifully restored to God.

We will never know if Jonah eventually appreciated that pesky little worm. Maybe, he finally saw the light years later, after several more such blessed worm encounters. If not, well — that would have been the biggest tragedy of all.

How you and I react to "those blessed worms" depends on our longings. Do we want the heart of God? Do we want to experience Christ's love to the fullest? If so, then we might pray like this:

Prayer: Lord, I long to be fully rooted and established in Your loving nature. Help me to appreciate whatever means that You use to help me to reach this goal for my life. Amen.

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About the author:

Diane Eaton <d.eaton@bmts.com>
Paisley, Ontario, Canada

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1 Comment

  • PresbyCan Feedback says:

    Thank you.


    Amen, Diane.


    Lots of food for thought and a great reminder, Diane. Thanks and blessings!


    Thanks, Diane. What an interesting way to characterize those annoying moments in our lives! I’m going to work on digging out those worms.


    Greetings Diane,
    Many thanks for your noteworthy devotional today. I always enjoy your writings and blessings to you for doing them.


    Ouch! And Amen! May God deliver us from our self-centeredness! May we serve others with willing, glad hearts! Blessings and thanks for sharing.
    Blessings.


    Hi Diane: I was made aware of this site by our good friend. You and I both have “pesky worms” in our lives at the present moment. This is our testing of faith and we shall persevere.


    Hi Diane;
    I always love your daily devotions. God is good. I am delivering the message this Sunday and I was Struggling a bit, but your devotion today is exactly what I needed to get me going in the right direction.
    Praise God and thank you.


    Dear Diane,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts through Presbycan daily Devotional entitled “Those Blessed Worms”.
    I wouldn’t have called them blessed, but your text left me thinking of my life and my attitude towards things, people, and events.
    Thank you and Have a Blessed … Day.


    Dear Diane, The message you wrote this morning is a very good reminder on self-centeredness. It is so easy for us to get caught in that trap especially now while we’re more isolated.
    Thank you for the reminder, I am sure your message will make many of us do some soul searching.
    God Bless you and yours,
    (On.)


    Thank you, Diane,
    Excellent reminder to us to prayerfully ask ourselves why we are angry with, or feel inconvenienced by, people and situations that inconvenience or offend us.
    This pandemic has set off plenty of negative human emotion, so let’s get our focus back on repenting of our negativity and expressing God’s love and grace into all situations.
    Blessings.


    Diane,
    Well your title starts my head thinking where can Diane be leading us today. Great message and one we need to hear many times. We want good blessings not ones that teach us where we need to improve. Of course in the end those ones are the ones which help and guides us and make us a better person and who we really want to be. Human natures seems to want us to have the easy road, but we don’t always learn from the easy road.
    I had one of those meltdowns the other day and it took me picking up my Bible to calm down in order to apologize to the person. I was really mad at myself for being so careless but when my husband went to tease me about it good naturedly, I blasted him. I haven’t done that in so long I couldn’t believe I did it. If only I had laughed at myself, the situation would have just vanished from my mind instead of me holding on to it.
    Thanks for the great message of how God works to improve us each and every day. May you continue to look at scripture in your unique way. Blessings.


    Thank you, Diane. You always hit the nail on the head.
    Have a blessed New Year. And Keep inspiring us.


    Hi Diane, keep on glorifying God with your writing. Your words are so insightful – they identify so clearly a person’s inner struggles and help us to throw off the ‘old nature’. Thank you for your faithfulness.
    Keep well! Blessings!

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