“But to Jonah this seemed very wrong, and he became angry. He prayed to the Lord, ‘Isn’t this what I said, Lord, when I was still at home? That is what I tried to forestall by fleeing to Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and compassionate God, slow to anger and abounding in love, a God who relents from sending calamity. Now, Lord, take away my life, for it is better for me to die than to live.’ ”
Imagine God taking out a want ad for a life-saving task He’s about to perform. He seeks a prophet to warn the people of a major city of impending judgment. Candidate must travel some distance. In addition, the following personality traits will turn the job into an adventure:
• A willful, disobedient spirit;
• A reluctance to follow orders, prefers hiding;
• A troublemaker;
• Subject to angry, selfish outbursts; and
• Could be classified as a slow learner.
He finds just the right man for the job: Jonah, son of Amittai. Jonah gets right to it as soon as the Word of the Lord comes to him—he flees in the opposite direction of what God commands (Jonah 1:3). The adventure is off to a great start! And it never lets up as Jonah bucks God at nearly every turn…only to finally accomplish God’s given purpose—redemption for the people of Nineveh.
What in the world?
If you’re new to God’s ways, you might be thinking: Couldn’t He have found someone better qualified for the job? Someone more agreeable to the task? Someone with fewer issues?
But the longer you’re a Christian, the more you realize God’s servants are always broken people—because that’s all He has to work with! Everyone IS broken, whether they know it and admit it or not. And the more broken ones are often the best to showcase God’s glory.
For example, our friend Jonah. This Old Testament book is remarkable in that it just so plainly screams, “ISSUES!”
That’s why I love it.
Most days, I feel totally unqualified to write an “inspirational” blog. I’m way too aware of my own shortcomings. But to God, it doesn’t seem to matter. Because it’s not about my limitations; it’s about His strength. My issues are merely a vehicle to:
allow God in;
showcase His powers; and
draw others to Him.
The same applies to you. And all this makes me wonder how God wants to work through your limitations? Are you missing an adventure with God? Giving yourself a pass because you’re not “together” enough?
Maybe you’re like Jonah (with your issues hanging out all over the place). Or maybe your deal is more underground. Either way…Congratulations! It’s a great starting place for God to work. Remember: issues are no issue to God. They don’t preclude you from being of service to Him.
Of course, He wants to polish you up and smooth those issues into the likeness of Christ, but while He’s doing that, be aware that you can still be of value. You never know who’s going to relate to your problems or what God’s larger plan is.
It truly is an adventure, and it doesn’t have to be as hard as Jonah made it. Take a shortcut and skip the running and hiding part. Dig in and see what God has in store!