“But Jonah rose up to flee . . . from the presence of the Lord. “ (Jonah 1:3 NASB)
Some versions translate it service. Either way they are sobering words. It is easy to be critical of Jonah and his determination to go the opposite way God was sending him. But as I think of the Spirit at work in my own life, I have to say, I have strong ties to Jonah and his contrary ways.
I’m not talking about a failure to keep rules. I’m talking about a failure to follow God’s leading. God has service for all of us to perform. He longs for us to seek his presence so that service can be accomplished.
Imagine, the God of the universe has his eye on me. Not only that, but he wants to involve me in His work. What is my response? Is it like Samuel? … “Here am I, Lord.” Or is it like Jonah, fleeing?
There was no confusion on Jonah’s part as to what God wanted him to do. If we are honest with ourselves there usually isn’t confusion in our mind about what God wants us to do. He makes plain to his children what those tasks are, but like the small child who is busy with their own things we respond, “I can’t hear you,” when his voice speaks.
For me part of that service is writing. I believe it is a calling. So why do I do it so reluctantly? I enjoy putting pen to paper. Things become so much clearer in my mind when I write, and yet I’m afraid. Like Moses, who had a clear word from God, I argue. “I’m not good enough, isn’t there someone else?” I let my insecurities get the best of me while God patiently waits and says…”Who made you?” “Who made your mouth?”
The more awful thing to be afraid of is that God in anger will turn away and use someone else. That would be the biggest disappointment of all.
For I the LORD am your God, Who grasped your right hand, Who say to you; Have no fear; I will be your help. (Isaiah 41:13 TANAKH)