Jonah ran away from God's instructions to go to Nineveh and tell the people to turn from their evil ways. Jonah knew that if he did as God told him, that the people would, in the long run, be blessed. He didn't see how those evil people could ever deserve God's blessings so Jonah ran toward Tarshish. He refused to do what God wanted him to do. Why should he give those people a break? Why do they deserve mercy? They didn't do what God wanted. To Jonah, these people were far from deserving mercy. Jonah took actions into his own hands and fled just to spite the people that God actually loved.
He ran away and did what he wanted to. Jonah boarded a ship and caused a mighty storm to happen. Waves crashed, strong winds blew and life was hard on the runaway trip. When the people on the ship realized that it was Jonah who was causing the "storm curse" they threw him over board and a large fish swallowed him in one piece.
Picture Jonah in the pit of the "whale's" stomach. Guts. Disgusting. Slime of lives bombarding his every move. Jonah had to be feeling his lowest. How did he survive in that mess? How could he get out of that horrible situation? Jonah cried out God and God released him of his misery. The gigantic fish threw him up and Jonah was once again in a situation where he had to decide, "Obey God or not?"
Although Jonah knew the people who disrespected God would benefit from his decision, Jonah went to Nineveh and told the people to turn from their wicked ways and turn to the Lord. Jonah wasn't happy about having to listen to God but he obeyed anyway.
What would you do if you were him?
I have been angry at many people in my life time. I get jealous that God still loves them in spite of the evil things they have done to me and to other children. It's very hard for me to know that God loves them just as much as He would others. He does.God really loves each of us.
Is it easy for me to love everyone the way God does? No. If God came up to me and said forgive those people who hurt me, could I do it? It wouldn't always be easy but I could through Jesus who could help teach me to do so. What if God tells me to share about His love so that they would know Him and find their way to Heaven. Would I be able to do that, even if I thought they were bad and deserved to go to Hell and live with the devil forever? Yes, it is possible.
Would I run away and not listen to God just as Jonah did? I guess I have done just that. There has been times in my life that I am jealous of God's love. I have crossed my arms across my chest, stick my nose up in the air and stomped as I turned away from God's instructions. I guess you could say those times where my Jonah times. Those were days when I "got in my boat and traveled off to Tarshish instead of listening and telling the bad people to turn from their wicked ways." Yes, I have taken a detour from God's way.
When I did things my way, I got whales sized nudges until I found myself praying and asking God to forgive me and help me to love those other people. After all, have I always been perfect and lovable? No. What if someone didn't show me that God wanted me to turn from wrong things? If no one cared enough to share the love of Jesus, where would I be today? Where would I spend my forever days after I die? Would I know what love was?
Next time God tells you to love someone, even when it seems totally impossible, you can do it. You can love the unlovable people. When you find it isn't easy, ask God to see the people like He does. Just like He sees you.
We all have Jonah days. Those are the day's when you need to ask God to be the captain of your boat. Which direction will go on those days?
Dear God, when I can't find enough love in my heart to love someone else, will You please help me to do it? Help me to obey You, even when it's hard to do.Thank You for loving each of us and showing us how to love each other.
In Jesus Name,