Jonah 4:2 NLT |So he complained to the Lord about it: “Didn’t I say before I left home that you would do this, Lord? That is why I ran away to Tarshish! I knew that you are a merciful and compassionate God, slow to get angry and filled with unfailing love. You are eager to turn back from destroying people.
You have been uniquely crafted by the hands of the Creator for a specific purpose that only you can fulfill. But what if we don’t like where God is asking us to go or do? What if it’s too scary? Perhaps, you don’t feel qualified?
Jonah’s life teaches us one thing and that is this: God will have His way.
You have the power to choose to take the way God desires for you or you can take the way you desire. In the opening chapter, God doesn’t waste any time in telling Jonah, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
Then there is a but.
Jonah decided to hop on a boat and head in the opposite direction, away from God. We quickly see that Jonah’s life is being interrupted by God – the very One he was trying to flee from because he did not like the mission that God called him to. Once the sailors realized that Jonah’s God was causing the great storm, Jonah told them to throw him overboard so that the storm would stop.
If Jonah would have simply said, “Okay God, You know best” and set out to complete his mission, a lot of time could have been saved and he would have avoided putting himself and the lives of others in danger and being swallowed up by a fish. Instead, it took being inside the fish’s belly for three days to finally understand that God’s plan was going to happen. I know I have found myself stuck inside the stomach of a fish until I came to God’s senses. Once Jonah finally makes it to his destination and completes the mission God gave him, the people immediately repent of their sins and turn their hearts back to God.
God is so gracious and compassionate that when we truly repent and seek His face, He is faithful to forgive us of our sins – regardless of how dark and rotten our hearts are. Here is the other but: Jonah wasn’t happy. He would have preferred the entire nation be judged, condemned, and destroyed. All through the mission, Jonah’s heart was not compassionate, and he is treating this great calling like a task that has to be done. Even at the end of the story (Jonah 4:4), he is more worried about his reputation and says, “it would be better for me to die than live.”
Whatever God has called us to, He has equipped us, and He has prepared the place and people that we will serve and witness to. It’s so much easier to allow fear, doubt, and our own selfish desires to overrule our judgments and plans than to listen to God because it removes “us” from the equation. It’s important to not Listening to God requires us to die to self and choose God and His plan over the desires and dreams we may have for our life. Sometimes the hardest thing we have to do is to be compassionate toward someone we may feel they don’t deserve grace.
In the grand scheme of things, the plan God has for your life is oh, so good! His purpose is to work everything for the good of those who love Him. If we fully submit to Him and His will, we are guaranteed this promise! Just as we see in the testimony of Jonah, God’s compassion for us is continual and even when we don’t listen the first time, He will provide another chance.
Romans 8:28 | And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
So next time God sends you on a mission, do a heart check and go with a joyful heart and a willing spirit to serve!
1. How many buts are you going to let come between you and your purpose that was uniquely hand crafted for you?
2. What is God calling you to do but your heart is not in it?
3. Will you allow God to work on your heart to prepare you to go with a heart of joy?
I thank You for creating me specifically for the unique purpose that You have called me to. I ask that You continue to shape me into the person You created me to be so that I may fulfill the call You have on my life. Make my heart match Yours and the desires You have for my life, guide me as I walk closer with You and discover my unique purpose. When the buts come, remind me of your grace and that You have called me for such a time as this. In Jesus’ Name, I pray, Amen.