“Adam hid in the Garden of Eden. Moses tried to substitute his brother. Jonah jumped a boat and was swallowed by a whale. Man likes to run from God. It’s a tradition.”
~ Mitch Albom
“Let me tell you the story of Jonah!” I would love to hear those words coming from the mouth of my grade school teacher because I knew I was in for a whale of a story. As you know, the story of Jonah begins with Jonah being told by God to go to Nineveh to tell them that they were going to be destroyed for their sinfulness.
Jonah did not want to go. As a matter of fact, he did everything that he could think of to escape God and the mission entrusted to him. He fled over land and eventually fled into the open seas, finding passage on a ship. When a terrific storm blew up around the ship, the crew drew lots to see who had caused the storm and the lot fell to Jonah. He was thrown overboard only to be swallowed up by a whale. Some versions call it a large fish. Either way, you get the story.
A few days later, Jonah was expelled from the whale on the shores of Nineveh. He went through the town proclaiming the message that God had given to him to say. The people repented and were spared and Jonah became enraged because God relented and did not punish them.
We are often like Jonah. We run from God when we perceive Him calling us to some kind of task. Other times, we do what we feel God is calling us to do but become upset because what we have said or done was perceived in an entirely different way or had a different effect than what we had thought it would be.
We are not the ones to determine how God’s message is to be perceived and we are not the ones to determine how God’s actions will come about. We are simply the messenger, that is, when we cooperate with God.
Mitch Albom is correct, though. It seems that human history is rife with examples of people running from God. As you make a whale today to hang on your Jesse Tree, think about what God has called you to do. Have you said yes to God? Or are you on the run?
FAITH ACTION: Have you been reluctant to accomplish what you feel God has been calling you to do? Say yes already.