A few weeks ago, I travelled with my parents to an unfamiliar part of town. We had an early morning appointment and did not want to be late. Instead of risking the chance of getting lost, I used my Global Positioning System (GPS).
It got us exactly where we needed to be on time by informing me exactly when to turn and how much time it would take to reach our destination. It made our hectic morning less stressful.
The GPS is a helpful piece of technology, and I will use it again in the future. But it got me thinking about maps. Do you remember using maps – the ones with horizontal and vertical folds that once unfolded, are impossible to fold back to its original position?
I was fascinated with them. I spent hours studying possible routes before taking a trip. I knew where every state park and body of water resided and how to get to them.
Road maps not only show what’s ahead, they offer an easy route to get there. I prefer knowing I need to turn right in 10 miles rather than in 250 feet like the GPS commands. Nothing sneaks up on me and I am prepared for what is coming.
But life rarely works like that. The twists and turns of life often come suddenly and unexpectedly, leaving us unable to see what’s ahead.
Jonah found this out the hard way. In fact, he did not even realize there was a bigger picture.
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he relented and did not bring on them the destruction he had threatened.
Jonah travelled throughout Israel communicating God’s messages to his chosen people. It was his calling, and he was probably content travelling throughout the country fulfilling his mission. But one day, without warning, Jonah’s life path took a sharp turn when God instructed him to visit the city of Nineveh.
Nineveh, the capitol city of Assyria, was a powerful and wicked city. They were known for witchcraft and worshiping false gods. They also moved whole populations from their homes and were brutal to prisoners. The city was filled with so much sin that God planned to destroy it.
But God is merciful and wanted to give them a second chance. He needed someone to travel to Nineveh and warn the citizens of destruction unless they repented. God have this important mission to Jonah.
I can imagine Jonah’s reaction. “Can you repeat that?” he probably asked, thinking he heard wrong. But there it was. A mission clearly defined and meant for him.
The Assyrians were so destructive and merciless to the Israelites that Jonah did not want to see them spared from the wrath of God.
After a failed attempt at trying to run from God, Jonah eventually, and maybe reluctantly, travelled to the Nineveh to relay God’s message. It worked. Despite their wicked ways, the citizens of Nineveh were open to God’s message and repented.
But Jonah became angry. His prejudice only allowed him to be concerned for the Israelites, God’s chosen people. In his eyes, they were the only ones who needed to hear about God’s word.
This new development of a city outside of Israel repenting angered him. He grew up in fear of the Assyrians who were merciless to his people. Jonah did not feel they deserved God’s grace.
Jonah did not have a GPS or a map to guide him. He did not know what was directly ahead of him, nor could he see the future. From his position, he only saw a small portion of what was happening, but God saw the big picture.
Nineveh was a city filled with people who, for generations, had never been taught moral values or the truth about God. This concerned the Lord. It filled him with so much compassion that he chose Jonah to help these wicked people turn from their evil ways and live a holy life.
But Jonah remained blind to the opportunities his preaching in Nineveh provided.
Matthew 6:33 (NIV)
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
Sometimes God will ask us to do something that makes no sense. But our God sees everything. He knows where his people are needed in the trenches of life to help others. Don’t allow your own fears, prejudices or self-interests stop you from witnessing to others.
Instead of focusing on trying to understand our mission or on the inconveniences we must suffer, we should keep our eyes on the Father who has promised to supply all of our needs, and promises that those who trust in Him will not be disappointed.
This week, I’m linking up with these great ladies:
Good Morning Monday | Monday Musings | Motivate and Rejuvenate Mondays | Sharing his Beauty Monday | Intentional Tuesday | RahRah Linkup | Tell his story | Testimony Tuesday | Wedded Wednesday | Woman to Woman Wednesday | Woman With Intention Wednesday | Faith Barista | Thought Provoking Thursday | Faith filled Friday | Fellowship Friday | Grace and Truth | The weekend brew | Susan B. Meade | Still Saturday