Friday, November 17, 2023

Merciful First World Problems

By: Lauren Thomas 

There’s nothing like a small dose of adversity to show you who you really are. 


It’s been a hard year. A complicated pregnancy. Preterm labor. Emergency c-section at 24 weeks gestation. A 149-day NICU stay. But you know what got me? Our air conditioner going out in a week of 100-degree weather. 


Can you say, “first world problem”?


It was this, of all the things, that put me in a funk from which emerged a terrible attitude, gross complaining, ugly feelings, and some nasty reactions toward loved ones. 


We call minor inconveniences (that feel large) “first world problems,” because we have the privilege of living in a country where – for many – most basic needs are usually being met. We tend to take so much for granted. 


What gets to you? Wi-fi going down? Your package not arriving within 48 hours? The grocery store being out of stock of that one ingredient you wanted for dinner? All first world problems.


It reminds me of the 4th chapter of Jonah. In this lesser-known part of Jonah’s story, Jonah camped outside Nineveh hoping that he would get to witness God’s judgement on the city that had just repented at his preaching! This is what happened next:


Now the Lord God appointed a plant[b] and made it come up over Jonah, that it might be a shade over his head, to save him from his discomfort.[c] So Jonah was exceedingly glad because of the plant. But when dawn came up the next day, God appointed a worm that attacked the plant, so that it withered. When the sun rose, God appointed a scorching east wind, and the sun beat down on the head of Jonah so that he was faint. And he asked that he might die and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”

Jonah 4:6-8 (ESV)


God saves us from discomfort, even when we are in the wrong! It’s His mercy. 

And other times, God removes comfort from us in order to expose our wrong and reveal his nature. Another act of mercy. 


The passage goes on with God revealing His heart of mercy for Nineveh, while putting Jonah in his place.


My AC was eventually fixed. And I was humbled. Abundantly so! I have to thank God for just another one of his many acts of mercy. 


Thank you, Lord, for your mercy!



Can you think of a situation where what felt like a bad thing was actually God’s mercy in disguise? Has the removal of comfort in your life ever shown itself to be an act of God’s mercy?

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