'But God also arranged for a worm! The next morning at dawn the worm ate through the stem of the plant so that it withered away.'
Sometimes circumstances can be very puzzling or even worse distressing. It seems so in this situation.
First, God provides Jonah with a leafy plant, a place of delightful shade from the scorching heat. Next, God removes the comfort of that shade and leaves Jonah in difficulties again.
'And it came to pass, when the sun arose, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, so that he grew faint and wished in himself to die, and said, “It is better for me to die than to live.”'
What does this story tell us? It tells me that God will never allow circumstances to get too difficult; that at the point we can no longer cope, He will provide a way out, or ease our distress in some way. However, it also tells me that God whilst providing a leafy shade, a rest along the way, does not mean that we take our ease for ever in such a place. Too many of us would just grow comfortable. We've found an oasis in our desert, somewhere where life can just become easier, maybe even too easy. The Lord who watches over us will cause these easy circumstances to change to move us on to the next part of our journey. He never wants His children to become slothful or lazy, to become self centred and at ease for too long.
Therefore, He sends along a worm. It's incredible! Our God who has numbered the hairs on our head, who knows the sparrow that falls to the ground, can send along a worm to change our lives. This could have been something as simple as a caterpillar! Imagine life being transformed by a caterpillar! Surely our Christianity is more stable than that!
God allows our circumstances to change to teach us to become increasingly dependant on Him. As we mature in the things of God, we learn to rely less and less on leafy plants and more and more on the Rock of Ages. He is the same yesterday, today and forever.
Don't let your boat be rocked today by every passing flurry of wind or every caterpillar that passes by! Rather learn to steer a straight course by leaning on the Master's words and following His perfect example.