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Sunday, April 26, 2015

Je Suis Jonah: Spit Me Out, Fish. My Nineveh Awaits.

I am a modern day Jonah, disobedient and unfaithful with a whale of a decision on my hands. Ok, so, I know it only specifies big fish, but that didn't fit my metaphor so well.
Blue whale
© naturepl.com /Mark Brownlow / WWF

I've had quite the opportunity to think while in this paused belly of time. I know what my Nineveh is.  Obedience.  But, I've so many concerns--so many fears about exactly what this obedience will entail.

These final days have been stripped down to just me, the truth and a choice, and my time in the belly is coming to a close.

 Unlike Jonah, I have been in this belly for years living a subpar existence--forfeiting the rewards of true obedience by leaning on my own understanding.

  I ran from my Nineveh, sailed away in the opposite direction from my purpose. Several storms dumped less than subtle hints that I wasn't where I was supposed to be and I've been swallowed up by the fight for my will.

It has all led up to this clear and simple fork in the road--the point where I must choose:

Selfishness or obedience.

His way or my own understanding.

I can no longer claim ignorance, Lord, (1 Peter 1:14) and I know that it is a sin to know to do good and not do it. (James 4:17)  Still, I find myself conforming to the evil desires I had before professing to love You. 

I lack the wisdom necessary to tackle my Nineveh--obedience, and additionally lack the faith required to seek that wisdom without doubt. (James 1:5-6)   I am simultaneously exceedingly disturbed at the prospect of forfeiting Your mercy (Jonah 2:8) via disobedience.

I want so badly to please You, but pleasing You is impossible without faith.  (Hebrews 11:6)  My spirit is willing but my flesh is oh so very weak, for before I even began to try it Your way my flesh has baselessly decided what obedience feels like.

Obedience feels like a life of loneliness, but I read that You are a friend who sticks closer than a brother. (Proverbs 18:24) Obedience cannot mean loneliness.

Obedience feels like a forgotten existence, but I read that You have promised to never leave me nor forsake me. (Deuteronomy 31:6) How can the one who know the number of hairs on my head forget me? (Luke 12:6-7) Obedience cannot mean being forgotten.

Obedience feels like a life of unimportance and insignificance, but You said that if I humble myself before You, that You will lift me up. (James 4:10) Obedience is remembering my purpose--to bring You glory.

Obedience feels like unrealized potential and talent unappreciated But, I also read that if I humble myself, You may lift me up in due time. (1 Peter 5:6) Obedience is maximizing my potential as a vessel keeping my talents sharp and ready for You to use for Your glory.

Obedience seems so very boring! Yet, I read that I am to flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace. (2 Timothy 2:22) Light shines on the righteous and joy on the upright in heart, says Psalm 97:11.  I'm old enough to know that joy is more valuable to me than entertainment.  Obedience requires maturity.

Obedience feels like unreciprocated selflessness.   But, I read that I should be hopeful and encouraged--to let nothing move me from always giving myself fully to Your work because my labor is not in vain. (1 Corinthians 15:58) Obedience is pressing toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:14)

Faith for me is easy when what I stand to gain is clear and imminent.  My faith to date has been motivated by reward--peace of mind, ordered steps, personal gain. This new kind of faith is motivated by love.  Not the feeling kind of love--the doing kind.

"And this is love: that we walk in obedience to His commands..." 2 John 1:6  "If you love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15

This new kind of faith is motivated by love--obedience.

You have promised that if I don't give up, if I don't become weary in doing good, I will reap a harvest at the proper time (Galatians 6:9)  That harvest has just got to be better than this belly.

I want that harvest and I want it bad...whether it's in this life or whether I must wait to receive it in the next.

All glory and honor to my most longsuffering, gracious and merciful Heavenly Father.

Spit me out, fish--I choose obedience.