One of the most well known stories from the Bible is the story of Jonah. Ever since I was a kid I loved hearing the story of how God rescued Jonah from the belly of the whale and sent him to share His message of love and forgiveness with the city of Nineveh. I often pictured Jonah in my mind as Geppetto and Pinocchio sitting in the stomach of Monstro the giant whale from the Disney version of Pinocchio. It was a story filled with adventure and redemption. Reading the story now though, I realize that I often skipped the beginning and end of the story. The story begins and ends with Jonah turning away from God’s perfect plan for his life and choosing a different path. A path that leads to the stomach of a big fish and anger and bitterness.
How many times have you and I done the same thing as Jonah in each of our lives? God speaks to us with clear direction about what He wants us to do, and we do the exact opposite. We run from God thinking we know what’s best for our lives and ultimately it ends in utter failure. Whether God is calling you to step out in faith in a huge major way or in a small matter of faith, you need to respond to His call. No matter how scary it might be to trust God in whatever area He is calling you to respond to Him, and your answer needs to be Yes Lord.
Thankfully when we do turn away from God’s perfect plan and go our own way He is always there waiting for us to return. We can never run too far away from God because He promises to be with us always. When we choose to follow our own path we need to turn back to the Lord and pray the prayer of Jonah found in Chapter 2 of Jonah:
“In my distress I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry.” (Jonah 2:2)
Throughout the month of May and June we will be looking at the story of Jonah and how it relates to our lives. We will learn how to hear the voice of God and respond. We will also discover the forgiveness and grace God has for those who choose to wander and come home.
Join us as we dig in together on this epic adventure!