I continue to marvel at how the Lord is patient with people like me. As I read, and re-read Jonah 1 during the week, I began to realise the extraordinary lengths He goes to bring His people back to Himself. Take Jonah for example. He was asked to go on an assignment of great importance – to be God’s missionary to a foreign land. God had a message to give them and He needed someone to take that message – Jonah was the man! Jonah was His chief advisor to Israel’s King Jeroboam 11, and had provided difficult counsel to this tough and hardened king on many occasions. Jonah had the experience and toughness. He had the ‘metal’ to be this messenger to Israel’s enemies. Besides, God would go before him, protect him and give him the words to speak!
Sadly, Jonah was not interested in this assignment. His heart was not in it despite being chosen by God! So he turned his back on God and went on a cruise to Spain. What I have learned, not only with Jonah, but with many people in God’s Word, is that God will do ‘whatever it takes’ to get His people back on track with Him. Jonah was guilty of open rebellion to God. He had disobeyed a command from the ‘Chief Commander’! In some ways he was guilty of treason. Jonah was guilty of a sin of omission – he omitted to perform a task commissioned to him.
When I think about sins of omission I am horrified at just how many times I have been guilty of this. And as I look at the church of this 21st century, there are so many opportunities that God has given His people of today to serve Him in the local church as well as around the globe. Yet opportunities remain just that – opportunities never taken on!
I am comforted with the fact that God did not give up on Jonah! He does not give up on me when I turn my back on His explicit directions. No, He does whatever it takes to open my eyes and have me step out in faith in obedience and dependence on Him to a life of service. I am glad He has done this because it has been a most exciting, rewarding and blessed life! I may be bruised at times but I would have it no other way!