Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Revisiting Nineveh: Comfort or Courage?

How often do we pray something like this?
Father God, I'm here.  Just tell me what You want me to do.
I hope I'm not the only one who has, at times, finished that thought with ...but nothing too difficult or uncomfortable, please.  It's a hard, hard thing to surrender my will when the Lord asks me to do something that's outside my comfort zone.  As Rich Mullins wrote in Hold Me Jesus, "Surrender don’t come natural to me / I’d rather fight you for something I don’t really want than to take what you give that I need."

But I also know that trying to get out of doing what God wants us to do doesn't usually work out very well.  Remember Jonah?

Jonah-whale

The Bible explains, in just three verses, how Jonah got himself into that mess:
The word of the LORD came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me."

But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the LORD.
It's been summarized this way:  The Lord said GO, and Jonah said NO.  Today we might say, "Excuse me, but are You sure about that?"

He is sure.  And, besides that, who am I to question the God of the universe when He tells me to do something? 

Jonah eventually came around and went to Nineveh.  He preached there and many repented.  In my experience, rebellion against God never turns out well.  Believe me, I have the scars to show the consequences of my rebellion and sin.

But here's something else that I've learned:  God doesn't send us to do something without equipping us to do it.  I'll give you an example.  I'm introverted.  So introverted, in fact, that I nearly failed kindergarten because the teacher thought I didn't have the social skills to move up to first grade.  I've come a long way since then, but I still get anxiety over making phone calls and talking to people I don't know.  But in the past month or so, as part of a ministry, I've had reason to walk up to people I'd never met and introduce myself.  And you know what?  I really wasn't scared.  I didn't trip over my words or talk a mile a minute.  This may not seem like a big deal to you, but it was for me.  I can't take an ounce of credit for it. All I did was trust God to give me the words to say.

So with that confidence in my Lord, I'm working on being less like Jonah and more like this:
Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?"  And I said, "Here am I. Send me!" (Isaiah 6:8)
Image credit: Christian Clipart

5 Comments :

Tammy@ Not Just Paper and Glue said...

This is so very true. So many times I definitely want what I think is best for me instead of what God thinks is best I do have a problem tripping over my tongue when talking to people, but I am reminded of Moses who said that he was "slow of speech" (I think that is how it is worded in the KJV). God just needs a willing vessel not someone who is perfect, polished, or of high stature :) Good for you for allowing God to overcome your obstacles.

Mama E said...

I love this post. One thing is for sure- God doesn't give us anything we can't handle. Sometimes, as we age, we forget we are still growing and changing as individuals. I am happy you are finding a new strength!

Alexis AKA MOM said...

Amen! I'm trying to do the same. And also go with what he is telling me not what others keep telling me. I having that problem with knowing to say no I'm doing enough :). I want to help at church and I've offered my services to many things but people there keep wanting more and more, I have to go with what I believe God wants me to do and not take on too much to become overwhelmed and not go anymore.

Beautiful post ;)

Alea said...

This is a great post! I have had many Jonah moments. Fotunately I come around to His will for me before He has to do something too drastic to convice me to comply. :)

Elle said...

I knew there was a reason I liked you. I too am very introverted. I was so painfully shy as a kid. When I became a teenager, I would let my sister speak for me. It really wasn't until my 20's when I had to do things on my own--being married, having kids, making my own friends (as opposed to my sister and I having the same friends) etc, that I was able to be more outgoing. Still, I am not one who will ever be the center of attention. I pretty much hate it. I prefer to sit and listen over sharing my ideas outloud with other people. The phone call thing...UGH I can totally relate to that. That is why I like the internet. So non-threatening! My autistic daughter is also like this. I dropped her off the other day for 2 hours at school and a bus of kids were walking up the path to the front of the school. She looked at me and froze and said "bye mommy" but wouldn't move. I kind of felt bad. I made her walk by herself up to the school. She kind of walked a few spaces, paused and slowly walked a few more spaces. I felt bad, but really I think its good for her. I don't want her to be fearful her whole life of things. I wonder if it helps???

I think that is so true though about the equipping. God wants us to take on His full armor and use it. I think sometimes we don't trust that His ways are best and that is when we do end up falling. I'm struggling a lot with that right now.

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