There once was a holy man who was well liked. He was respected, people listened to him. Then God, as usual, decided to throw a curveball. He told this person to go far away, go to a town that he hated. He told this man to go visit a people whom he despised. This man did what any sensible person would do, he turned a full 180 and went the exact opposite of where he was meant to go.
This man, the prophet Jonah, thought he could outrun God. He thought he could outsmart him by getting the heck out of Dodge, leaving his homeland far, far away. Perhaps he wanted to visit Cyprus, Italy, or Spain. Whatever his side motivation was, Jonah had a call on his life. He knew deep in his core that he needed to move toward something. Move toward what God wanted him to do.
How often have I done this? Too many times. The heavy feeling in my heart to do X or say Y, and I choose to do the exact opposite.
Can anyone else relate?
One of the great things I have gathered from Jonah’s tale, is the fact that God is not done with him. When he is tossed into the sea on a stormy day, he is not lost. God doesn’t leave him for dead. No, a whale swallowed him instead.
A marine animal of some sort swallowed him and Jonah sat around in the belly of the whale/fish for three days. Jonah got to where he needed to go, the place where God called him to go days before. No doubt Jonah emerged from the belly of the whale smelling horrendous, smelling more like a decaying fish market than a prophet!
Dear reader, sometimes it’s better to be swallowed by a smelly fish. Sometimes it’s better to emerge through learning a lesson from God than to drown in a sea.
God is merciful, God is patient. Even when we choose to run in the opposite direction, we are told he constantly seeks us out.
As Jesus would relate, he is the good shepherd, the one who will search for the lost lamb who ran away. God wants us, he loves us enough to send us a smelly fish sometimes when we’re swirling around in the stormy waters of life.
What has helped move you to where you needed to go?