Jonah 4:3 When You Feel Like Giving Up

Jonah 4:3 “Now, O Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.”

Have you ever had a really bad day? How about a bad week, or month, or even year? Perhaps your whole life seems to be going down the tubes. Well, that’s the kind of frustration and despair Jonah is feeling at the moment.


Let’s just review what poor Jonah has been through. First, his boss (God) gave him the worst assignment he could imagine. Jonah had to become a glorified delivery boy. He had to go and rub shoulders with the people he hated more than anything, and deliver God’s message. Now, if he’d known God was going to zap them all, he probably would have enjoyed the assignment. But no. He knew his boss better than that. He just had this sinking feeling in his stomach about the way things would turn out. And watching his most despicable enemy experience God’s mercy and compassion was just about the worst thing Jonah could imagine.

So he tried to quit his job. But his boss sent a storm to chase him down. Then, he decided to just take the plunge – literally. At least if he drowned, he wouldn’t have to do the thing he dreaded. But no, even that didn’t work out for him. God sent a giant fish to swallow him up and keep him safe – though quite uncomfortable – for a few days. Inside that fish, Jonah finally gave up. “Okay, God. I’ll do it. But I’m not gonna like it.”

Then, he gets washed up on shore. He is exhausted. He stinks. His skin is probably irritated and bleached out from the acids in the fish’s stomach. But does he get to spend a few days at the spa, to rest and recover?

Nope. He might as well get this over with. He dusts off his seaweed and starts walking. I’m not sure how long or how far he had to walk before he got to Nineveh, but considering he was already exhausted, it couldn’t have been a pleasant journey. And then, when he arrived, he did it. He delivered the message.

Sure enough, his worst fears were realized. Those nasty Ninevites repented, and God forgave them. Now, Jonah had to call them . . . oh, the shame . . . he had to call them his brothers.

Could things get any worse?

Not to Jonah’s way of thinking. He was ready to give up right then and there. “God, just kill me. At least if I’m dead, I’ll be in a better place. I can’t take any more.”

Hmmmm . . . I’ve been there.

Many of us have been at that place where we just say, “God, I can’t take any more. Just kill me now.”

Yet, God still had plans for Jonah. Important plans. And He has important plans for us, too.

Do you remember who wrote the book of Jonah? Yes, that’s right. Jonah wrote it. And his story has reminded people of God’s amazing compassion and unending mercy ever since. You see, God had bigger plans for Jonah than he could have even imagined.

But what if God had granted Jonah’s wishes? What if God had zapped the Ninevites?

What if God had zapped Jonah?

What if Jonah’s story had never been written?

Well, one thing’s for sure. People might have a hard time believing that God’s compassion is bigger than His judgment. Some people might never turn to God, because they think they’ve been too bad, they’ve done too much. They might never turn to Him, because they think it’s too late.

Jonah’s story tells us that it’s never too late to seek God’s forgiveness. His love is bigger, stronger, more intense than anything we have done. And nothing surprises God, either. He already knows all about our pasts. He loves us, and His goal is to rescue us from a destructive lifestyle. He doesn’t want to destroy anybody.


Jonah was tired, worn-out, exhausted, frustrated, mad . . . yet God wasn’t finished with Him yet. He had important plans for Jonah.

Hang in there, my friend. He has important plans for you, too.

Dear Father, Thank you for Jonah’s story. Sometimes, I feel like Jonah – tired, frustrated, ready to give up. At those times, please give me the energy to keep going. I want to accomplish Your purpose for my life.


8 Responses to Jonah 4:3 When You Feel Like Giving Up

  1. June 30, 2010 #

    Thanks, Renae. I needed to hear this today.

  2. June 30, 2010 #

    Hi Jeanette! I’ve needed it, too . . . (((hugs))). Hang in there. 🙂

  3. June 30, 2010 #

    Thanks, Renae–I need this has been a tough couple of weeks. Makes me wish you were nearby and we could have coffee together and feel God’s presence together.

  4. June 30, 2010 #

    Wouldn’t that be great, Marlene? Let me know when you’ll be up this way, and we’ll see if we can make it happen. 🙂

    Sorry it’s been a tough couple of weeks. You and yours are in my prayers.

  5. July 2, 2010 #

    I’m hanging. I’m hanging…


    • July 3, 2010 #

      I’m right there with ya, Jean!

  6. July 4, 2010 #

    I jsut do not feel like going on, I amvery ill physicllly, in terrible pain, I have no energy.

    I am way too thin. I have no joy in life.

    I trust no one. Ihave totlaly lost my moral compass.

    I cant even let people help me.

    I feel totally evil.

    please help

    all I want to do is die, i feel so resntful hurt lonely and sad.

  7. July 5, 2010 #

    Dear Father, Please be with Leila. I can’t be with her now to give her a hug and offer her words of encouragement and comfort, but I know YOU are already there. Help her, show her how to find encouragement and comfort and joy in YOUR Word, in YOUR promises. Give her practical help and practical wisdom. Help her to forgive, not because the person deserves forgiveness in her eyes, but because forgiveness is really just letting go; because forgiveness will set her free.

    Father, help Leila to find joy and peace and hope in the small things, the simple things like a bird singing, a child’s laughter. Help her to find YOUR presence in the smile of a kind person. And Lord, help her to offer YOUR presence to others by finding someone who is worse off than she is, someone who is hurting, someone she can love with YOUR love and compassion. This will help the other person and will help her as well.

    Father, please send Your Holy Spirit to Leila. Speak to her. Hush her fears. Wipe away her tears. Put joy in her heart and a smile on her face and set her free.

    In Jesus’ precious name,

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.