Stubbornness. Fear. Anger.
Guess Jonah wasn’t exactly thrilled by the thought of Nineveh when God called the first time. Actually, he was quite upset. Jonah, I mean (though I’m quite sure God was, too). He took off in the opposite direction – Tarshish. Extreme west, instead of heading east. Maybe he didn’t have to courage to tell God No. Maybe he thought his actions would speak louder, and God would get it and drop the idea.
Did he really think he could run away from God’s presence?!
“I’d rather die than to go to Nineveh!”
Essentially what Jonah said, no? “Pick me up and throw me into the sea. Then the sea will become calm for you…” (Jonah 1:12a) And so we get locked into our positions – the stances we adopt in the beginning; the beliefs that perhaps we’ve built our lives around; the definitive views that shape our choices. We follow our deadweights to where they are anchored “… The great deep engulfed me, … I descended to the roots of the mountains.” (Jonah 2:5-6a)
“Life is the pits!”
Jonah would have empathized. Actually, if he had been Singaporean, he might have said, “Wah, you quite jiat lak. But I lagi worse!” Stuck in a fish with rotting food, no light and the breath of death. Ways to die: malnutrition, sun deprivation, suffocation, fright… But Jonah believed God was in that pit too. In fact, Jonah believed enough to see the safety of the pit. Blessing in the blubber. Maybe the scent of rotting food does something to the mind and heart.
“I’ve messed up too much this time. It’s too late…”
Jonah failed. But with God, failure is neither fatal nor final. God wasn’t finished with Jonah. For He is a God of second chances. He never gave up His plans for Jonah – and He will not give up on us. How then, can we give up on ourselves or others?
“Yesterday ended last night.”
Turn. Turn and run to, run with Him. Stubbornness – turn. Fear – turn. Anger – turn. Inadequacy – turn. Disappointment – turn. And watch God command your fish to cough you up, and give you His word.