“Jonah was not content to simply tell God no. He went in the opposite direction.” Stanley pg 109
I’m guilty of doing this myself.
While I’ve never ended up in the belly of a whale, I’ve visited some dark places. Places I knew reeked of my own self will. Places I had to learn to accept God’s way instead of my own.
Like Jonah, I often need to spend some time in a dark place before I can really let go of my agenda and accept God’s.
“…I don’t think it took three days for Jonah to change his mind. I think it took three days for Jonah to learn his lesson.” Stanley pg 111
Keep in mind that prior to being swallowed by the whale, Jonah had tried “suicide by sailor” rather than repentance. Simply put, “He would rather die than go to Nineveh.” Stanly pg 110. And so God gave him time to rethink that…what better place than inside a whale?
That is grace.
Grace gave Jonah the time he needed to realign his thinking.
God could have simply said, “Okay, you would rather die than repent and accept my will, you’ve got it. I can find someone else willing to go and warn Nineveh they’re in trouble.”
But God didn’t do that. Instead, He allowed circumstances in Jonah’s life to bring discipline which produces repentance by those who learn from it (Hebrews 12:11)…and Jonah learned- sort of.
Jonah did repent, but he still wasn’t 100% sold out on God’s plan (again, I’m guilty of this).
While he was quick to accept God’s second chance in his own life, he was less than thrilled for God to grant it to the people of Nineveh.
But God wasn’t surprised by this grudging attitude.
He knew Jonahs heart…and He knows ours.
The journey to Nineveh and call to repentance was as much for Jonah as it was for the Ninevites.
God’s thorough in His discipline and His grace. He makes no mistakes.
When He calls you to do something, often the journey is just as important as the end result for its during the journey (the dark places) that growth occurs. Thank God for His grace to help us during each step of our voyage. (tweet please)
At the end of the 8th Chapter of “The Grace of God” by Andy Stanely my heart was pierced by these questions:
“Who are the Ninevites in your life? Who are the people to whom you have a hard time extending grace? Whose calamity do you secretly celebrate? Who do you secretly wish would get what you think they have coming to them?” Stanely pg 117
We all have a bit of Jonah in us.
We all need HIS grace to carry us through this life.
So as you go throughout your day, I pray you ask yourself these questions and let God’s grace shed light and love on the answers.
To read more thoughts on this chapter head over to Jason, Sarah, and Dusty’s blogs (and links to others who are participating in this book club).
Have a grace filled day!