Did you ever think of God as the Divine Architect of the universe, drawing up plans for nations and people alike? And whatever are His plans for us, they will come to pass.
Jonah was determined to go to Tarshish. He was fleeing from God’s presence and command to go to Nineveh and preach to the people there. Jonah did not approve of that assignment because he disliked the Ninevites. He felt prejudice in his heart toward them because they were not of his own people. This Bible story tells us of perils at sea, Jonah being cast into the sea by the sailors and swallowed by a great fish in which he stayed for three days and three nights.
In the belly of the fish, Jonah reflected on his situation and prayed to God for deliverance. Eventually, the fish vomited him on to dry land. Again the Lord spoke to Jonah, telling him to go to Nineveh and proclaim His message to the people. That time Jonah obeyed!
God runs His universe by purpose and plan and we, His children each hold a place in His plan. He works all things for the fulfillment of His plans and it is often amazing to witness the pathways He takes us through in order to bring about that fulfillment.
Often, like Jonah, we are determined to go our own way and do our own thing but God, in His wisdom, uses our stubbornness and waywardness against us and directs us back to what He has destined for us. He can move us through the paths of our own choosing and use those same paths to bring us to the place He wants us to be. This is exactly what He did with Jonah and will do with us when we are disobedient.
We cannot hide from God’s presence for He is everywhere. All our thoughts, words and actions are known to Him. Unlike Jonah, David acknowledged this truth and asked the question, “Whither shall I flee from thy presence…?” (Psalm 139:7). The Lord also asserts His sovereignty and asks, “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him…do not I fill heaven and earth?” (Jeremiah 23:24). These are important truths worthy of our reflection.
Can you sense God’s leading in your life for a particular vocation? When you hear His command, say “yes” to God, and in His timing, His will for you will unfold. He will quicken you by His Spirit to accomplish what He wants out of you.
Maybe you do not fully agree with what God is saying to you but should this be so, unlike Jonah, you can be grateful that God has chosen you to make a difference in the lives of others. You can overcome your disagreement by often going to God in quietness and confidence, asking Him for the strength and courage to accomplish His will. In obedience and humility, ask Him to enable you with wisdom and direction to carry His plan.
Fulfilling God’s plan calls for willingness for the things of God and His presence, but our big problem is unwillingness to do the things we are supposed to do. However, God sees His completed Big Picture and fits each of us into the parts He wants us to play to bring His scenario to actuality.
At one time, Jesus said: “The spirit is willing but the flesh is weak…” however, willingness for God will help us overcome spiritual weakness. Though the flesh (that part of our nature that disagrees with God) is weak, we can encourage ourselves in the Lord and train that part of our nature to follow our spirit in fulfilling God’s plan. How? By bringing our thoughts, words and activities into the captivity of the Lord (2 Corinthians 10:5).
Willingness is a learned behaviour. We learn willingness when we come to the realization that we are not our own and are accountable to God, our Father. When we are willing, our task of carrying out God’s commands becomes easy because He takes His rightful place in our lives and makes the unmanifest become manifest.
God’s purpose is creative, drawing events and happenings to itself, bringing us to the fulfillment of His plans. It is a driving force, that propels us, moving us up and down hills and mountains, plains and valleys, rivers and even through fires to complete His Big Picture.
What can we learn from Jonah’s story? We can learn three lessons: one, that we may run from God but we cannot hide; two, that He owns all things seen and unseen, and uses them in mysterious ways to accomplish His desires at any time, and three, that we are not to be prejudiced against people not in the same faiths or creeds like ours, but serve all, the best we can in the name of Christ, for all of humanity are His (Jonah 4:11) and we believers are mere vessels through whom He expresses Himself to make this a better world.
Prayer: “Dear Lord, quicken me to do thy will. Amen.”
May the Lord richly bless you with His peace, love and prosperity.