He did everything God told him to do. Followed all the rules. Then, God told him to follow Him in something he didn’t want to do. “No. Just NO, Lord. I am not going!” Can’t you just hear yourself, oops, I mean Jonah saying that?
Sound familiar? Sure sounds familiar to me. Over the years I have told God no many times. No, I won’t go over and talk to them. No, I am never getting braces. No, I don’t like working with kids. I would be so passionate that these things would never happen, but (sigh) God loves to make you do the things you don’t want to do or the things that scare you. Not because God is mean, but because He wants to see you rely on Him and not your own understanding.
Jonah tried so hard not to do what God was telling him to, but eventually he gave in. From the inside of the fish, Jonah decided His way of living wasn’t all it was cracked up to be.
A couple years ago I got braces even though I didn’t want them because I thought God wanted me to. Last summer I felt lead to talk to a lady. When I did, I found out that she was a Christian and was struggling with some choices. She was very grateful when I prayed with her. Over the years I have gotten pulled into some of the children’s events at church because they were short on helpers, and I discovered I really enjoy working with grade school children.
“There I did it are you happy,” He thought, “Now, you’ll see how pointless that was”
Now there is one part of Jonah’s story I hope you don’t ever repeat. After doing what God told him to do, he left and waited for his efforts to fail. Can you believe that? He was so convinced it wouldn’t work that he actually wanted his work to fail! Sometimes we can give in to what God is leading us to do because life is miserable where we are. We think Ok, God, I’ll do it. I will show you it won’t work. Doesn’t this remind you of a child being told to do math? “Aargh, yes, Mom,” with a little eye roll. Then they proceed to do math and to their chagrin get an A.
Through every one of the areas in my life where I have told God no, I have discovered those things really aren’t that scary, and in most cases I really enjoyed them.
Are there any areas in your life where you have told God no?
Why have you told God no? (fear, hatred, comfort)
How can you make your first step in the direction God is leading you?
(To learn more about Jonah, read the book of Jonah.)