Read: Jonah 1-4
“You want me to go where, and do what???!!” Jonah fumed with indignation. How could God even consider sparing those vile Ninevites? Not only were they Israel’s most bitter enemies, Assyria was a wicked nation which delighted in unspeakable acts of cruelty. No one was more deserving of judgment than they. Firmly ignoring whispers of grace and mercy, Jonah arose and fled to Tarshish, away from the presence of the Lord (Jonah 1:3).
My friends chuckled when I shared that I was skipping my usual prayer time in hopes that I could avoid God’s promptings to overlook my demands for justice and extend grace. Like Jonah, my heart was hardened by anger and pain. You can’t run away from God, they said. He knows how to find you. They were right.
God pursued Jonah with a raging tempest, which subsided only when he was thrown into the sea. Then He provided accommodation in the belly of a fish for Jonah to cool his fleeing heels. It wasn’t till Jonah reconsidered his options that the fish deposited him on dry land. This time, he went when God spoke. But the indignation he’d felt at the call bubbled over when the Ninevites actually repented. Jonah was so enraged, he talked back at God and declared he’d rather die than see his enemies saved (Jonah 4:9). But God didn’t see the vile, wicked people that Jonah did. He saw lost souls in need of salvation.
Like Jonah, I found myself pursued by whispers of God’s grace and mercy. In attempting to flee His presence, I was instead confronted with images and messages of the cross. When God’s holiness demanded justice in the face of our sin, Jesus made the ultimate exchange – His righteousness for our lack. God’s grace raged over the just accusations flung at us; as we rejoice in that truth, hear Him whisper, “Go and do likewise.”
Image Attribution: https://christianmommameditations.files.wordpress.com/2013/12/jonah2.jpg