How often do I whine and complain when God tells me what I need to do right then? How often do I try to avoid the conversations with strangers that He wants me start? When the Creator of the Universe says "jump" do I respond with "how high" or with "but I want to do this instead"? How does that work out for me? It works out about as well as it did for my niece this weekend! It works out about as well as it did for Jonah in the Bible when God told him to go to Nineveh.
Jonah 1:1-4, 11-17
The Lord’s word came to Jonah, Amittai’s son: “Get up and go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their evil has come to my attention.” So Jonah got up—to flee to Tarshish from the Lord! He went down to Joppa and found a ship headed for Tarshish. He paid the fare and went aboard to go with them to Tarshish, away from the Lord. But the Lord hurled a great wind upon the sea, so that there was a great storm on the sea; the ship looked like it might be broken to pieces.
They said to him, “What will we do about you so that the sea will become calm around us?” (The sea was continuing to rage.) He said to them, “Pick me up and hurl me into the sea! Then the sea will become calm around you. I know it’s my fault that this great storm has come upon you.” The men rowed to reach dry land, but they couldn’t manage it because the sea continued to rage against them. So they called on the Lord, saying, “Please, Lord, don’t let us perish on account of this man’s life, and don’t blame us for innocent blood! You are the Lord: whatever you want, you can do.” Then they picked up Jonah and hurled him into the sea, and the sea ceased its raging. The men worshipped the Lord with a profound reverence; they offered a sacrifice to the Lord and made solemn promises. Meanwhile, the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah. Jonah was in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights.
Jonah didn't want to go to Nineveh. He had other plans. He wanted to stay where it was safe and comfortable. But God had bigger plans for him and Jonah's disobedience forced God to teach him a lesson. So Jonah spent 3 days inside a big fish and then was vomited out on shore. That sounds like a great way to spend a 3 day weekend!
When we complain about what God is asking us to do and instead of doing it we give God our list of things we want to do, we are like a child that doesn't know what is good for them. I should know better, but I fail most days. When God tells me to speak, I remain silent. When God tells me to go, I prefer to stay. When He directs my path, I try to veer off the trail. I need to do better. Because, like I learned from my niece's episode, when we are obedient we are seen by a God who can bless us with more than a trinket from a department store!
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