For my writing today, God put it in my heart to write about Jonah and the first thing I did is search my heart. Is there anything He has asked me to do that I haven’t done? I’m I running from God or the call? All clear!
Let’s look at Jonah. So God gives Jonah an assignment and the guy decides to flee from God. (Jonah 1: 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord). I’m pretty sure he isn’t the only one who has done that. I’ve been guilty of that and I know some of you have stories they could share. We can have a good laugh at our foolishness in thinking we were canny enough in avoiding God. Some of us know the story of Adam and Eve like the back of our hands. Remember after they had sinned and they hid from God? Disobedience to Gods command not to eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil earned them a one way ticket out of Eden. Yea, Jonah sinned too by disobeying a direct order from God and ended up the belly of a whale.
Me? Well, I had the worst next two years of my life after telling God I couldn’t do what He was calling me to do (intercessory prayer). There was brokenness in every area of my life and I knew why though I wrestled with submitting because I understood the responsibility that comes with a calling. The nerve I had! The nerve Jonah had! God had mercy on Adam and Eve, Jonah and today He has mercy on those who choose to flee their assignment. A very forgiving Father cared for them, me and many others who have traveled down this path. What about you? What lesson did you learn or are you in that “belly of the whale” season but you don’t understand why there’s no peace in your life. Why you feel like you are praying and fasting and nothing is happening for you?
A youth pastor in my church preaching shared something profound. When people came for prayers about unanswered prayer, the first thing he asked them was “is there anything God has asked you to do that you haven’t done?’ Surprisingly enough most of the people he asked that question broke down in tears and admitted to having done just that or having some type of sin in their life. Disobedience is sin. Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal to you areas in your life you are not being obedient or submitting to Him.
Chapter 3 is a game changer because God called Jonah a second time. Notice that Jonah answered the call and a city and lives were spared because they heard Jonah and repented in fasting; even the king put on sackcloth and sat in dust (Jonah 3:5-6 ‘The Ninevites believed God. A fast was proclaimed, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When Jonah’s warning reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust’).
Why not let God be glorified in the assignment? Our shortcomings don’t put off God, if anything He uses them to teach us or to minister to others so they don’t suffer the same fate Jonah/we did. Being a reserved and private person, being this open on a public forum is not something I would do on my own, I’m being vulnerable and while I may cringe at what I’m revealing about myself, I rejoice that in the end, one, two or more people will say ‘yes Lord, I will go. I will submit to Your will and purpose for my life.’
My friends, God does not make mistakes. If He has called you to something, your current inexperience or situation is not a hindering block but a stepping stone. From someone who has taken a page out of Jonah’s story and lived it I urge you to please submit yourself to the Lord. Let Him do the good work in you that He has started.
(Jonah 3:10 When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.)