You’ve got to do something!
We’ve all been there, haven’t we? I certainly have, and more than once. There’s a conviction in my mind that I really ought to do something, but I really don’t want to do it. Sometimes I employ a displacement activity – playing patience on my computer instead of grappling with the front page of the notice sheet – and sometimes I simply ignore it. You may have experienced similar experiences. But sooner or later you must act positively, and the result might be better than you anticipate.
The book of Jonah shows us a man in such a situation. The story tells us that he felt called by God to go to Nineveh, a place with a very poor reputation, and warn the people of their immanent destruction. Jonah, not surprisingly, was reluctant to do this, so he took a boat sailing in the opposite direction instead. Things not working out for him, he found himself back on dry land with the Lord’s message still on his mind, so he did what he should have done in the first place. To his amazement, the people of Nineveh responded positively to his message and his mission could be counted a success.
Perhaps this parable reflects our experience of situations in which we have found ourselves. We tried to evade what God seemed to be calling us to do, but found that evasion was impossible. Or perhaps we followed God’s calling, filled with misgivings, and found that the outcome was full of blessings. Or perhaps, as seemed to be the case with the first disciples Jesus called, we just responded immediately and followed at once.
As we journey with God we can’t just stand still. We may be resting a little for a time, but if we ever feel we are not being called onwards, not being prompted to a course of action, we need to think again and listen more carefully. And know that ultimately God’s calling can’t be ignored.