Read His Words Before Ours!
You know, after studying the ins and outs of Jonah for this Journey… I feel for the guy. We know so little about him or his life, and what few snippets we do know are completely colored by his disobedience and anger. I can’t imagine that his whole life’s story is truly summed up by those four short chapters we’ve been digging through, but the Bible is completely silent about Jonah’s life, both leading up to and after the events outlined there.
Everybody has a rough week (or two…or three…yep, I’m raising my hand, too) now and then. Let’s try to put ourselves in his shoes for a moment.
Let’s imagine ourselves in a pretty awful spot, faith-wise. Let’s say…our relationship with our spouse is pretty stilted and we just haven’t been communicating very well. Maybe our children have really been testing their boundaries and our job is incredibly stressful on top of everything else. Then, maybe God tells us to give our life’s savings (everything we have worked so hard for!) to the homeless guy on the corner. And…we don’t do it. Instead, we book our family for a weekend getaway, because hello! Things are stressful and we need to reconnect! But then…everything goes haywire. The hotel is hit by a tornado and we find ourselves bunking in the basement with a bunch of other irritated guests. When we finally get out, we have a change of heart and decide to give what is left in our savings account to the homeless guy, but it is too little, too late. He’s gone.
This may be a stretch, but now imagine that a film crew was secretly documenting all of this to broadcast on television. Can you imagine the shame? The embarrassment?
Now imagine that no matter what else happened in your life leading up to that experience, no one would ever know about it. And afterward? You very well may have won a Nobel Peace Prize, but no one would ever know about that, either. You will always and forever only be recognized for that particular incident.
The Bible doesn’t tell us how Jonah lived out the rest of his life. He may very well have repented of his anger and chosen to live a life of humility and grace. He may have been so convicted by God’s mercy toward the Ninevites that he lived out the rest of his days showing great mercy to everyone he met, giving glory to God.
Or he may have chosen to walk in anger for the rest of his life.
We may never know.
Loves, is his story so very different from our own? Looking back at my week, there are three separate instances that make me ashamed to even remember them. I lost my temper. Raised my voice. Chose anger rather than peace. If those few scenarios were the defining moments of my whole life…let’s just say our friend Jonah would look pretty spiffy by comparison.
Maybe it’s the same for you. Maybe you have been making some choices and acting in ways that you know are wrong. Maybe you’d rather forget the way things have been going, but you feel stuck. Sister, we don’t have to be stuck! Even after all of Jonah’s disobedience and unrighteous anger, Jesus still used his story to point toward salvation. He can use us at our worst, but my heart longs for Him to use me at my best.
Jesus, we love you. We declare you the King of our hearts, minds, and lips. Show us how to love others and You better. We want to be available to tell Your story and to stop getting caught up in our own. Forgive us for our selfish attitudes and sinful choices. Grow mercy in our hearts and minds, and increase our capacity to love others as You do. We want to reflect You in everything we say and do. Bring Your Kingdom here in our hearts. Amen.
Embracing God’s fullness in our lives is rooted in scripture and memorizing His word is vital to our continued growth and depth with Jesus. Tap and hold from your mobile device to download this week’s verse and make it your phone’s lockscreen!