I was listening to a sermon on Jonah – the man who is known for being “eaten” by a big fish. I wonder what it would be like to have known him. Here’s a guy who was asked by God to go to a city named Nineveh and let them know that they were wicked and that they needed to change their ways. Not a very friendly message to deliver.
I squirm sometimes when I hear of friends/relatives who do things wrong and I’m told “someone needs to talk to them.” Normally that means me and it isn’t God whose telling me to do the talking.
Jonah initially decided not to listen to God and went the opposite direction. It was a tall order that God was requesting. I mean, if God told me to go to St Paul or Minneapolis and let the city know that they were wicked I’d want to “reason” with God. ”
- Uh, are you sure you want me to do it?
- What about the preacher of that church over there?
- I really think it will be a waste of time God.
- I don’t think they would listen to me – I’m just a woman.
- Don’t you want someone prettier?
- Don’t you want someone smarter?
We’re not told that Jonah tried to “reason” with God – only that he “ran away from God.” Well, I guess if that works …
But Jonah was not gone for long. He was given an assignment and even if he felt unqualified to do it, God asked him to do it.
God even gave Jonah a second chance to witness for Him. On the ship that Jonah got on (to get far far away from God and His assignment), a big storm came up which Jonah slept through until woken up by the other sailors. It’s interesting that the story tells us that the other sailors asked Jonah “How can you sleep? Get up and call on your god! Maybe he will take notice of us so that we will not perish.â€
But Jonah missed his chance again. Ahh well, Jonah is thrown into the sea, the storm calms down and he gets swallowed by a big fish.
Lots of time to think in the belly of a big fish. Sometimes God has to use extraordinary measures to get us to pay attention. Is reliance on God really so hard that we have to run away from Him?
I feel for Jonah. I’ve run from God too. Feelings of inadequacy in what He wants me to do or not do make me cringe. He may see the potential in me but if I don’t see it I question His leading. And then I’m afraid – afraid that I’ll mess up – afraid of embarrassing myself.
The wrong words or expressions — if only God could just give me the manual and robotically make me do what He wants done. I’ve often asked that of Him but He has said no every single time.
It takes awhile for me to remember how special He thinks I am — how special He thinks we all are.
Jonah — I’m so glad He got his act together in time to do what God asked.
As a child, I can remember being asked to close my eyes and jump into the arms of someone. It was scary at first. But then I learned to trust them and every time I jumped I would giggle.
So – I’ll jump and giggle knowing that God will always catch me.
To read the whole story, click here.