"It's not fair!"
Those were the words I yelled as the green snake attacked the woodpecker on the side of the tree.
A video has been circulating on Facebook showing a woodpecker on a tree trunk with his head inside a hole in the tree. Suddenly a large green snake darts out of the hole and grabs the bird.
The bird thrashes, the snake holds on, and after quite a tussle the bird breaks free. The snake retreats back into the hole, feathers and a piece of bird belly in his mouth.
Unbelievably, the bird returns and pecks at the snake. Apparently her eggs or her baby birdies are in the hole, and she bravely risks her life to save them.
Again a strike by the snake. Another shaking. Feathers fly. The bird breaks loose again, stunned.
As the bird comes back yet again, it's obvious the snake has the upper hand, and both the babies and the mother woodpecker will not fare well.
These were nearly the same words spoken by the prophet Jonah many centuries ago.
This weekend we traveled to Lancaster, Pennsylvania to see Sight and Sound Theatre's production of "Jonah." In case you're not familiar with the story, God called Jonah to go to the evil city of Ninevah and tell them that God would destroy them in forty days.
After much avoidance of doing what God wanted, including running the other way to a different city, Tarshish, a major storm at sea, a three day adventure in the belly of a whale, and some other dealings between himself and God, Jonah finally relented and went to Ninevah.
He told the Ninevites the message God had given him to deliver, then went and perched himself at a safe distance to relish the city's destruction - almost like setting himself up in his comfortable lawn chair for a grand display of fireworks.
When the fortieth day came and went, God did not destroy the people of Ninevah, for they had repented and turned back to Him. Jonah was irritated. He was disappointed. Frankly, he thought it was terrible that God had extended mercy to those who didn't deserve it.
Horrible that those people should receive God's mercy.
I want to laugh at Jonah.
I want to tell him to wake up.
I want to tell him to look at himself.
Yet, I need to look in the mirror.
I need mercy, just as much as Jonah and every one of those Ninevites.
Unwarranted favor, so graciously provided by the One who loves me. Not one of us deserves His mercy.
The least I can do for this One who has given all for me is face my own "ninevahs," those things in my life that He calls me to stop ignoring, but that I keep avoiding.
Lord, give me the willingness to do so.
Do you have any "ninevahs?"