Let's Try This Again
Get up and go to Nineveh. Tell them to change their evil ways” (AP). Those were God’s instructions to Jonah. But instead of obeying God, Jonah tried to run away by getting on a ship to sail as far away as possible. He forgot that wherever he went, God would be there.
What a trip Jonah had! An awful storm, frightened shipmates dumping him into the sea, and a big fish that vomited him up on the beach. And then God spoke again to a waterlogged Jonah: “OK, Jonah. Let’s try this one more time. Get up. Dry yourself off. And go to Nineveh to tell them that I said they are to change their evil ways.” This time Jonah got up, went to Nineveh, and preached his short, powerful sermon—and lives were transformed because of God’s word. Blinded by his own desire for revenge on his Assyrian enemies and his fear of this dangerous call, Jonah tried his hardest to escape God. He forgot that God is relentless in pursuit of us and that God’s nature is love.
Like Jonah, we often forget the God with whom we are dealing. We don’t always trust God. We fail to remember God’s promise to always care for us. We futilely try to escape from God. But God’s love and call pursue us relentlessly. Remembering that can make all the difference in whether we get up and go or try to run away. When God calls, remember that it is the God of Jonah, the God of relentless love and pursuit, who is calling you. Confident in God’s steadfast love and trustworthiness, we can respond by going where we are led, knowing that the God who calls us will care for us and will equip us for any work.
Pursuing and loving God, give me courage and trust to follow where you call me to go. In Jesus’ name. Amen.
Things are not always as they seem. To Jonah, the people of Nineveh seem beyond hope, so he runs away rather than going to preach to them. But God has other plans. To Jonah’s surprise, the Ninevites turn to God. In our eyes, social standing and wealth may seem to divide people into different classes, but the psalmist declares that in God’s economy all are equal. Paul echoes the theme of the temporary nature of all things in this life; they should not be our source of security. Jesus opens his ministry in Mark by proclaiming that God is breaking into history to overthrow what has been accepted as the way things are. Sometimes God’s perspective is not our perspective.
Read Jonah 3:1-10. Can you think of a time when you sensed God calling you to do something you didn’t want to do? How did you respond?
Read Psalm 62:5-12. How have you experienced God’s “awesome deeds” in your life? What is your response?
Read 1 Corinthians 7:29-31. What distracts you from focusing on God? How might you reorder your priorities?
Read Mark 1:14-20. What might have led Simon, Andrew, James, and John to immediately stop what they were doing and follow Jesus? Are there things that make you hesitate in following Jesus’ call to you?
Respond by posting a prayer.
I join many of those who will pray for you as you seek to discern what you are called to be at this moment. May God grant you the courage to fulfill that calling. May we all open our eyes and see the misery, open our ears and hear the cries of God’s people, and, like God through the Lord Jesus Christ, be incarnate amongst them.”
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