Tag Archives: Jonah

Jonah Chronicles

21 Feb

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

Get this: Not fear that he was inadequate and wouldn’t match up, that he would not be able to do what God had called him to do. No. Fear, instead, that he would. That God would do exactly as He had promised and it would be too hard for him to confront. He also feared that God would be who He is.

He knew God and he knew himself too – pretty darn well, I’d say, seeing how the story turned out! Check out this part in particular. Isn’t that an amazing story?

I know what Jonah’s about, you know… I am the queen of non-confrontational. I hate the conversations where I have to talk about something that’s not right. I especially hate it when I’m not actually doing the wrong thing. Not because I haven’t messed up – I always have, and, eeerrrrmmm, I don’t care to elaborate on that point just right now :-o! But sometimes I do believe God uses you from the periphery of a situation to speak into it, to intervene.

Imagine this. If you’re in a research team, and you know that one of your colleagues is manipulating data specifically recorded by another of your colleagues, what would you do? That’s not so bad. Let’s step it up a bit. Two friends of yours in a teetering relationship and you know that they are hurting each other. And you know it isn’t of God.

Let’s up the ante a bit more, shall we? Your accountability partner with whom you share a totally equal relationship is on the brink of something actually unbiblical. Usually, with my friend, my contributions are along the lines of ‘Do you think that you are acting in accordance with what you believe the Bible to be saying?’ – ‘Well, then, good on ya!’ *cringes* I guess you pick the people you are accountable to… Mine is amazing, beautiful and tells me what’s wrong without me even feeling the tiniest twinge of smallness or pain. Ha – let’s see who tops that 😉 *I jest.* And I would never feel the need to say that to her – I am certain. Yet, what if I did? I do know there was one friend I did feel I had to say something to, when she was asking advice and expecting a certain response from me – one I couldn’t give if I was to truly reflect my feelings on honouring God in the situation.

I know what I wanted to say was the cop-out line.

Then there was that other time when I had to – just had to – tell a good friend and housemate I really felt from God for her. We’d been discussing a relationship she was struggling with for a long time. We knew from the start that there things that did not honour God in it. And still, she and I were both tempted to sigh and wonder how beautifully romantic it would be if certain things were straightened out. Yet in prayer, I knew that ignoring things that had happened already would not be putting God first. It would be compromising on what she was waiting on God to prove Himself faithful about.

So… I did tell her. After feeling heavy and compelled one morning, I did. I huddled in my cold Oxford room with only glass doors and curtains to keep it insulated. And I waited for her to put the kettle on for her breakfast. I could hear the kitchen perfectly, from the adjacent room. And I wondered what to say to her.

I padded out in the huge, fluffy kermit flip-flops I’d adopted and fumbled through what I’d been feeling. I had respect for both of them but I had to get this out. I was pretty scared. But God made another of his miracles that morning. I think coincidences are designed.

But that is a story for another Jonah day.

For today, in what ways are you running away from God’s will for your life?

I ask this because I have been running too.

See… Jeremiah said ‘but‘, Moses said ‘but‘, Jonah definitely said ‘but’.

If you know you have said ‘but’ more times than you care to remember hurting him, then I think you want to experience this.

Then the LORD reached out his hand and touched my mouth and said to me, “I have put my words in your mouth”. Jer 1:9

What an incredibly intimate, evocative picture… The Father looking into His child’s troubled face, full of her awareness of her inadequacy and worthlessness. And God’s first impulse is to reach out and gently stop those words that belittle His beloved. And give you His precious, infinite words instead.

I know that God has a specific purpose for you. A calling that only you can fulfill. A place for you to speak into. Words that only you can say. And they aren’t your words – they are His. He can fill those lips that are trembling with tears with the song He wrote.

And then if you but let Him, He’ll hold you and sing softly over you, hold those broken pieces back together.

The LORD your God in your midst,
The Mighty One, will save;
He will rejoice over you with gladness,
He will quiet you with His love,
He will rejoice over you with singing. Zeph 3:17

Whatever you’re afraid to confront, let Him hold you. Like Jonah, we have a God who cares passionately enough to be persistent.

I know that God has a purpose for you. It may not be comfortable at all.

But

it will

be

God.

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.

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