"Now the word of the LORD came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it, for their evil has come up before me.” But Jonah rose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the LORD. He went down to Joppa and found a ship going to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went on board, to go with them to Tarshish, away from the presence of the LORD." (Jonah 1:1-3 ESV)
I've read the story of Jonah many times but never truly saw myself in that story as I do now. After the past service at our church on Sunday, our pastor got me really thinking about what (or who) is the Nineveh in my life. Part of Jonah just wanted to see Nineveh punished, and didn’t want to give them a chance at redemption (made clear in later chapters), but also I see that Jonah had such a frustration and unbelief for Nineveh as he felt they wouldn't listen, let alone really change, so he hated the idea of wasting time and energy on them.
And that … is me.
There are people in my life whom I feel the same way about; from those that doubt the authenticity and/or authority of the Scripture, to those that all out profess Atheism. I’m not talking about those walking the streets and preaching to whom I don’t know, I’m speaking of those whom I have an established relationship with that I shut off the single Thing that could change their life, all because I don’t think they will ever change, or listen. I think to myself 'Why bother'? When conversation opens around others regarding my faith, I open up and freely share; but around them, I shut down in bitter frustration and almost anger, much like Jonah. 'Why do I waste my time' I ask to myself; 'their loss, not mine'.
I feel Him calling me sometimes to witness to them, and all I want to do is get on a boat and head for some distant coast land to get away from the responsibility. It all comes down to whom I am looking to for affirmation; Christ, or the world?
Jesus, grant me the Grace to do Your Will. When I come to the edge of that dock, waiting to board for Tarshish, may I hear Your whisper; Your love. May I not conceal Your gift You gave me, but show it for all to see. Grant me the strength to open up, even to those whom I think will never see You, or Trust You. I’m not the judge, I’m just the messenger, and all too often the messenger who is deciding who to hand Your invitation to and whom not. May I seek Your affirmation only, and teach me how to love like you love … Amen