We visited the car wash as a family recently. My husband
We visited the car wash as a family recently. My husband, who was driving, pulled to the spot indicated, set the car to neutral and kept his foot off the brake, allowing the machinery to pull us through. As we rode, water and foam and scrubbers beat at the window. I couldn't help but think the scene's resemblance to a storm or hurricane. The "storm" of the car wash was nothing bad, but planned and purposeful action towards a good end - a clean car.
My son has succumbed to the habit of nail biting and otherwise putting his fingers in his mouth often. We have been experimenting with the nail "polish" that gives nails a bad taste in order to break this habit. I have explained the "polish" application and resulting tastier not punishment for having bitten his nails, but serve as a tool to help him stop doing so. I pointed out examples of his own daddy wearing a wrist brace to heal an injured thumb or a person wearing a cast to mend a broken leg. Wearing a brace or fast is not fun, but it's not punishment either. It's an aid to help the person get better.
Jonah was given pretty clear instructions from God: "Arise, go to Nineveh..." (Jonah 1:2). However, Jonah chose to run the other way (1:3). The storm that interrupted his boat trip to Tarshish (1:4) and the giant fish that swallowed him (1:17) were not bad things God sent Jonah's way to hurt or punish him, but necessary steps to put him on the right track. The first stopped the fleeing, and the second was a free ride in the right direction. So the next time great winds hurl at you, you get a bad taste in your mouth or you find your movements somehow restricted, consider how these might be tools to help lead you in the right direction.