Being without internet for a couple of days is a minor disaster, but potentially an expensive one. Not only in money- but if you are like me, it chips into your chosen ministry. So a person tends to wonder, "what did I do to deserve this", or worse- "I KNOW what I did to deserve it." And you get lost in the material things of life, but believe me, the material things are never more than a means to an end with God.
Take for example the story of Jonah. To him, it seemed that the continued existence of one city- Nineveh- was the end game. Thus, he was willing to cast that away, bidding to escape God's call and condemn a city to destruction. And we in the hindsight of history can understand the feelings of Jonah. But do we see what TRULY motivated Jonah? Up to Jonah's day, Nineveh, capital of Assyria, had been a savage neighbor to have. But the days of Assyria's true wrath- the days of Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, and Assurbanipal- were more than a half-century in the future. What Assyria HAD done would be nothing compared to what it WOULD do in terms of war and slaughter and terror. Makes you wonder if God had revealed this all to Jonah, and THEN told him to go save the city. This would take him from being asked to do a distasteful task to seemingly being complicit in mass murder, and make his flight all the more understandable.
Especially if you go forward 100 years to the days of the prophet Nahum. Here, Assyria was at its peak of evil glory, and God proclaimed through the prophet its impending destruction- which would come true so completely that people thought the city was a myth for over a millennium.
So what was going on here? Why was God wanting to save the city then, at that moment, in Jonah's time? To know that, we need to understand a bit more history. Nineveh at this point was ruled by a king called Asshur-Dan. Dan was not having an easy time of things to say the least. His city has just faced a major plague, then a terrifying solar eclipse that seemingly heralded the end of the world, followed by another plague. And when he wasn't fighting off disease, he was fighting off rebellions. It truly seemed that their entire civilization was ready to fall apart at the seams. And then, here comes Jonah, preaching, "Yet 40 days, and God will destroy this city for its wickedness."
And so you have a willing audience for Jonah's preaching. And thus, Nineveh became a repentant, loving city, and the course of Assyria's history was changed- for less than 40 years. So what was the point?
It might seem confusing if you are caught like Jonah was, in the thought that the city's actions towards others was their sin they were being judged on. But take a closer look at the prayer Jonah plead from the belly of the fish:
Jon 2:8 All who worship worthless idols turn from the God who offers them mercy.
Jon 2:9 But with shouts of praise, I will offer a sacrifice to you, my LORD. I will keep my promise, because you are the one with power to save.
Did the people of Nineveh expect, in turning back to God, a return of their "good old days?" I don't know, I expect not, or else it wouldn't have counted as repentance. Jonah was disappointed in God because he never focused on the endgame. And if you pray for nothing more than a return of the good old days, you may be disappointed too. Pray for salvation first- "Seek ye the Kingdom of God, and His Righteousness, and all this will be ADDED unto you."