Thursday, November 6, 2008

Go to Ninevah

But Jonah got up and went
the other direction to Tarshish,
running away from God.

Jonah 1:3 (The Message)

I can remember exactly which road I was driving when I uttered-- “Lord, I want to really know what it means for you to live in me and me in you.” At the time I thought it a prayer of honesty and perhaps a point of discussion with God. He apparently took me at my word because since that day there have been more times than I can count that I have wanted to do a Jonah—get up and go in the other direction.

Jonah wasn’t ignorant of what God was asking him to do. He knew Ninevah and that his physical end might well be at the hand of the Ninevites if he came with God’s “message.” To follow God’s message to live in him was, in Jonah’s mind, much more than he could deliver. Ultimately, he valued his life more than anything.

When God lives in us complete control over our lives is lost. And, we can plan on unexpected “surprises” that ultimately will draw us further up and further in to the Kingdom of God. Of course, “surprises” is a euphemism for hardships. Ninevah was a hardship for Jonah but he wasn’t in control of the ending.

Many years later I realize that God has answered my prayer. In the beginning I fought my Ninevahs because, like Jonah, they were too difficult, too risky, too challenging, too dangerous. I never got to Tarshish, either. And when I finally reached my Ninevahs they usually turned out much better than expected.

I hear your voice calling, God.
Help me to not run away in fear.
My desire is to move in the direction
of each Ninevah you send my way.


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