When I joined the Blog Team at church, they provided a list of upcoming topics and we could claim which ones we wanted. I took two. The first was on the topic of faith and the supernatural. I scanned the list and saw the story of Jonah on deck for a message in September. I had to take it.
Jonah is one of my favorite stories.
In case you are not familiar with it, God taps Jonah on the shoulder one day and says, hey, I got this job for you. Go and talk about me. Seems easy enough. The issue is the destination. Jonah is supposed to go to a hostile and dangerous city and, as God says, preach against it.
I picture him sitting at the dinner table debating the options. Was there a way out? Did it have to be now?
He heads down to the local port, books a ship, and sails in the opposite direction. God raises a storm. The other sailors ask him what is up and he says that he worships the God who made the land and sea. The ask him what he has done to make God angry and he tells them to throw him into the sea as it will calm the waves.
He had told them he was running from God.
They pray, pick him up, and throw him over the side.
Your life may fall in line with many parts of this story. You may have your calling, seen the face of difficulty, and ran the other way. You may be on your boat, on the run, in the midst of a storm.
Friends and family may be confronting you about your intentions.
The Bible tells us that a large fish (whale if you remember your Sunday School songs) came and swallowed Jonah, holding him for three days before vomiting him up on dry land.
How many of us are spending our days submerged by anger, sorrow, frustrations, struggles, or heartache? By family members making wrong choices, sleepless nights and yearning for a change that doesn’t come?
Jonah goes to the city and they hear his message. The city repents and, at the end, Jonah is frustrated with God’s compassion. The message was all fire and brimstone.
Why the forgiveness?
This man who just survived a circumstance that would have killed any other human, did he not learn his lesson? God pulled him from the depths. He saved his life with a miracle.
Grace, grace, and grace again.
We have a choice and I know there are people out there standing with me. When you are beaten down, worn, tired and at the end of your rope you have a choice. Sometimes the first step isn’t even visible. It may take a journey overboard into the depths.
The process isn’t easy, but I say this out of faith.
Keep fighting. Win a day. Win an hour. Make the right choice once and find your day one. Even if you have a thousand Day Ones. The next may start you towards your calling.
You are not alone. Jonah prayed in the belly of the whale and God answered.
Your answer is coming.