I knew that You are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to become angry, rich in faithful love, and One who relents from sending disaster.Jonah 4:2b (HCSB)
Who is God? When you think of Him what comes to mind? How would you describe His ‘best qualities’ to a friend? Could you say anything more true then Jonah does here?
If we truly know God, we know some important truths. Firstly, our God is a merciful God: He is a God who looks upon us in our helplessness and takes pity.
Secondly, our God is a compassionate God: He empathises with our sickness and our weakness. God is moved deeply by our suffering and our sorrow–God is not a robot devoid of emotion and passion! Our emotions are but a pale shadow of the enormity of God’s emotions. As humans we feel emotions because we were made in the image and likeness of God and given souls by Him; we feel emotions because He does.
Thirdly, our God is slow to become angry. Whilst God’s anger is a terrible and horrible thing to behold, a thing that causes dread and dismay, it only overflows after a long, long time. When we read the Old Testament and the story of the people Israel, we marvel at God’s patience given how often they rebelled and sinned and broke the covenant they had with God. That God only exiled them to Babylon once and that, even then, He promised to bring a remnant safely back home is a miracle!
Our God is slow to anger. Why is He slow to anger? God is slow to anger because of His faithful love, and this is the fourth truth we know about Him. God’s faithful love is the most wonderful thing there is, it is a love beyond all words and above all thoughts. These qualities are what makes God who He is—exactly the kind of God who upon seeing true repentance relents from sending disaster upon sinners. So let us rejoice that this is our God, that this is the only God.