The prophet Jonah is a representation of how we as Christians can become sometimes, if we’re not careful. He was close to God and was used by God in powerful ways, but he was callous and self-centered when it came to his attitude toward Nineveh.
Jonah had no choice but to do what God commanded by preaching repentance to the Ninevites. Yet he was still hoping for God’s punishment on them because they were some of the most evil people walking the planet at that time and Jonah just could not and would not forgive them for that.
Jehovah used a gourd to teach Jonah a lesson about his attitude and his priorities. The plant God allowed to give Jonah some comfort for one day was more important to him than the Ninevites. When Jonah whined and pouted about how God had handled not only Nineveh, in that he let them off the hook when they repented, but also how he killed off the plant that gave him his creature comforts, Jehovah pointed out that sparing 120,000 babies and toddlers who were too young to know their right from their left was more important (Jonah 4:11). Additionally, all the cattle in Nineveh were also more important.
The next time we may have a hissy fit about why God didn’t work things out the way we wanted and didn’t unleash his wrathful judgment on someone who did us wrong, we should consider that God has a more useful and merciful purpose in mind with greater ramifications. It could be our anger is misplaced due to our callousness and us placing priorities on what is convenient for us instead of focusing on the importance of human life that needs God’s mercy to start some kind of positive ripple effect whose profound outcome we can’t foresee.