Jonah Chronicles

8 Jan

I am reading Jonah. Actually, I have been harking back to this old chap since November… And also Hosea. It started with this conversation:

Me: How can I be forgiven? I, after all I’ve done against you, Lord? Disobeyed you like it’s a relay track?!

God: Do you doubt my forgiveness?

Me: (Unintelligible sound). No, yes, maybe… God, no – I know you do forgive me but what if there are consequences… what if I have despoiled myself from being used in the high purposes that you have called me to?

God: How many times have I forgiven you, over and over again? Your accomplishments are not yours, they’re mine. Anything you have. It’s not your ability to live up to ME, it’s grace… I love you. (I think God whispered this, very softly, into my tears).

And in the depths of my hurt, I sought for an example in the Bible. Something to put before me and take courage from. I thought of Joseph – but he didn’t defy God. Jonah did. In the most stupendously stupid way, he walked right opposite to where God nodded.

So, I thought I would share my recurring journey through this Bible story with you.

Jonah did not just disobey on one scared impulse. He didn’t just flinch from God’s calling – and even that is awful enough, that we would choose to flinch from the one who loves us beyond ourselves, who does exceedingly abundantly above all we can ask or imagine. No, no – Jonah took a long series of actions in direct, planned, understanding disobedience to God’s word because he simply didn’t think he, Jonah, could handle it. And he wasn’t honest, unlike this other guy) with God. In Jonah is a man who’d had a lot of interaction with God. He knew God would tell him he could do it, by His strength. He could amazingly, incredibly accomplish all the purposes that God had prepared for him in advance. He knew the plans of God would prevail. And he couldn’t face that conversation again, or face his fears and inadequacies again. So he decided to do a little walking away on the sly – he must have been pretty desperate to hope that God wouldn’t notice. Or maybe he hoped that God would finally give up on his case like he had given up on himself. To live a non-descript coward making no stand for God would be easier – Jonah thought.

So Jonah listens to God, wordlessly. Runs away, heads in the opposite direction, looks for the next flight ahem ship out, buys a ticket, boards and leaves. Really. Not once in all that time does he allow his plaguing conscience to let him reverse track. Not once. He must have been really scared.

Been there? Succumbed to pressure, done what’s wrong even though it’s hurting you physically deep in your heart to know that you are walking away from God?

If you are in that place right now, tell God. Tell Him, actually tell Him you want to do these things He doesn’t want you to do… It’s ironic but it’s beautiful. However hardened a sinner you feel you are, He will be the one to comfort you while you try to hurt Him. I know this. He is… wow.


One Response to “Jonah Chronicles”


  1. Jonah Chronicles | eccedominus - February 21, 2011

    […] last time I revisited Jonah Bar-Amittai, he was running away from God in fear. If you missed that, here it […]

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