And the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach and cry out to it the preaching that I tell you. — Jonah 3:1-2 (AMPC)
Adapted from the resource New Day, New You – by Joyce Meyer
We read in the book of Jonah how God told Jonah to go to Nineveh and preach repentance to the people there, but because Jonah didn’t want to, he went to Tarshish, which is in the absolute opposite direction.
What happens when we go in the opposite direction from where God has directed us? What happened to Jonah? When he boarded a ship and headed in his own direction, a huge storm arose. Like Jonah, many of the storms we face in life are the result of our own stubbornness or disobedience to the voice and leadership of God.
The violent storm that came upon Jonah frightened the rest of the men on the ship. They cast lots to see who was causing the trouble, and the lot fell on Jonah. He knew he had disobeyed God, so he told the men to throw him overboard so that they’d be safe. When they did, the storm stopped, and a huge fish swallowed Jonah.
From the fish’s belly (not a pleasant place!), he cried out to God for mercy and repented of his stubborn ways, and God heard him. The fish spit Jonah out on dry land, and in Jonah 3:1, we see that God spoke to Jonah a second time, giving him a second chance to go to Nineveh and preach to the people there. No matter how long we avoid God’s instruction, it’s still there for us to follow when we stop running.
If we’re not pursuing God’s will, we get uncomfortable; we just know something isn’t right in our lives. Eventually we see that being in His will, not trying to make our own will happen, is what brings peace and joy.
I encourage you to take a moment to ask yourself, Where am I headed? Think about the answer. If you’re moving in any direction other than God’s will, now is the perfect time to make a change!
Prayer Starter: Father, help me follow Your direction the first time You give it, and please forgive me for the times I haven’t. Thank You for forgiving me, and for providing the grace I need to do what You’ve asked me to do. In Jesus’ Name, amen.