Jonah gets a bad rap. He is the prophet of God who tried to run away, got swallowed by a big sea creature, preached to the people of Nineveh and then had sulky pity party when they actually listened and obeyed and didn’t get destroyed.
I love Jonah. God called him to be a prophet and he was up for it. Many of us know that feeling. “Hey God,” we say all enthusiastically, “I am here and I will do Your Will.” And of course we mean it – kinda. But then of course we have a pretty good idea in our little heads what that might entail.
Then God takes us at our word.
Why is it, I wonder, that what He asks of us is NEVER what we planned He should ask of us? He has the most appalling sense of humour.
Take poor Jonah, a good, God fearing Israelite. God tells him to go to the powerful enemy city of Nineveh and tell them to repent or be destroyed. So, if he does this, Jonah faces the prospect that they wont listen and he’ll get killed but at least they will get destroyed and not be a problem to Israel ever again, or worse still, they DO listen, he gets to live and so do they, and then they can be a big strong, God fearing, enemy of Israel.
Is it any wonder Jonah thought Spain was looking good for the time of year? I am sure I am not the only one who has faced things in life that have made me want to take ship to Spain rather than face what God is asking of me. The “I’m off to Spain” conversation goes like this, “I said I would do Your will, but You are taking the mic a bit aren’t You?”
“Are you saying you wont do My Will?”
“Erm…well…does this HAVE to be Your Will. I mean I have some other ideas…”
And then you just know that the big fish moment is heading your way and there’s really not much point in trying to side step to Spain and so you rather sulkily say “Oh alright then.” And God does His thing and you get to carry the cross but you have wasted a bit of grace by being grumpy.
Or is this only me?