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Seeds of the Kingdom

God Appoints Our Circumstances

by Jill Southern

And it happened when the sun arose that God prepared a vehement east wind and the sun beat on Jonah’s head so that he grew faint. Then he wished death for himself and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”
Jonah 4:8, NIV

While Jonah sat outside Nineveh, the sun climbed high in the sky. God looked down on him and took pity and appointed a plant (Jonah 4:6). The vine grew over Jonah and sheltered him from the burning sun. Jonah was very happy, but not so happy when God appointed a worm to destroy the vine. And if that wasn’t bad enough, God sent a scorching east wind to increase Jonah’s discomfort.

In his grace, God appoints circumstances for us. Sometimes He says, “I am giving you a vine to show you that I love you”, and we say, “Thank you, Father. Now I know You love me.” But, sometimes, God appoints a worm to remove the shade, and a scorching east wind to blow down on us. It’s the same loving God at work, but He is working on us in a different way. His purpose is to transform us into the image of His son. He will appoint whatever is appropriate at the time to bring that about.

Have you encountered any scorching east winds recently? Perhaps you are facing a hostile boss every day, maybe those closest to you misinterpret your motives. Perhaps you suddenly find that you are facing opposition, sickness, shortage of money, or broken relationships. You may cry out, “What’s happening to me?” Maybe you blame the enemy, when actually it’s God Himself.

“Lord, give me some shelter. Stop this east wind. I can’t stand it any longer”, we cry. But God replies, “No. In my love I have appointed the east wind for your good. Receive it from me.

Jonah hated the wind and railed against it. But the apostle Paul’s attitude to his east wind was totally different. His was a thorn in the flesh, where finally God replied, “My grace is sufficient for you. My power is made perfect in weakness.” And Paul responded joyfully, “I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses so that Christ’s power may rest on me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). He allowed the east wind to shape his character and bring glory to God.

Since it is God who appoints your circumstances to change your character, don’t fight everything or blame the enemy for everything that comes your way. By all means, ask God to intervene. But if he does not, try and learn the intended lesson. Let Him use the scorching heat to firm the image of His Son in you. And rejoice as you go through it. None of our trials are our choice. They are designed to fulfil a certain end, and however painful they are now in the present, they really are for our good.

Prayer: Father, help me to see the big picture that You have for my life. Either will You remove this trial or give me the patience to go through it joyfully. You are on the throne and I submit afresh to You today. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Jill Southern is the founder of Ellel Ministries Pierrepont and directed the work for 21 years. She has recently stood down from that role but still teaches on the NETS programme and has the passion to train and equip God`s people to fully walk in their destiny and calling. She is the Regional Director for Ellel Ministries International in South East Asia and China and is also on the Executive Leadership of the ministry.


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