Ray McDonald's Blog

Thoughts and Reflections

What Is It That God Wants Us To Do?

Jonah 1:17

Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights.

20140530-104833-38913743.jpgYesterday we wrote about God always being there – better than Superman or my parents. God has promised to always be there.

Do you remember the story of Jonah? God called Jonah to a task – and Jonah didn’t want to do the task. He rebelled against God and fled the scene. He got on a boat and thought he could run away – sail away – from God and the task God had called him to do.

As Jonah set sail on the boat – a storm rose. The mates on the boat fought against the fierce storm and were not having much luck and the boat was in trouble. They wondered why the gods were against them. Jonah told them that it was his God that was angry – angry with him.

Jonah was running – sailing – away from God – or so he thought. He was sailing to the far reaches of the known world – thinking this was far enough from God’s reach. He even thought death was better than doing the task that God had for him. Instead of asking the mates to take him back so he could accomplish what God had asked – he told them to thrown him overboard. He would rather drown than do what God had asked.

Has God ever asked you to do what seemed impossible? Has God ever asked you to do something you were opposed to doing – even to the core of your being? Has God ever given you a task you couldn’t see yourself accomplishing? An example might be working on a marriage that seems dead to you but God keeps urging you to pray for your spouse and continue to fight for your marriage – even though you want out! Another example might be serving in a place you would rather not serve – as a clergy or a layperson. This might include going on the mission field or living or serving in an area you think unfit. It might include doing something new – something fresh – at your church. It might mean doing something you don’t think would work or something you could never see yourself doing.

For me it was the call into ministry itself. I wanted to be a CPA and a sports official. I specifically didn’t want to be a pastor – not after growing up as a pastor’s son and grandson. I knew the long hours – the tireless work – the lack of appreciation from some that you serve. I even tried to make a deal with God when the call to ministry came up – time and again! I would not only tithe – but I would give 20% of my income to the church – if God would just let me be what I wanted to be!

Jonah told the men to thrown him into the drink – in to the storm – he would rather die than do what God had asked him to do. So – afraid of the God who caused the storm – more than their gods for throwing someone overboard – the mates did just what Jonah asked. Jonah had to think he was done – finally – at rest – a part from God’s grasp.

But as Jonah was sinking into the storm – today’s passage reads – Jonah 1:17 – Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was in the belly of the fish three days and three nights. Some have called it a whale – but one has a hard time understanding living in the belly of a whale for three days and nights. I’ve always imagined that God created a huge fish just for the moment – something never seen before and never to be seen again. It was a lesson learned by Jonah – you couldn’t run away from God. Inside the belly of the huge fish – Jonah came to his senses and prayed to God and agreed – if He allowed him to live – that he would do as God desired (smart man).

What is it that God wants us to do? What are we running away from? What is before us that we think impossible? Where is God trying to take our church that we’re not sure will work? Sometimes we simply need to yield to God rather than try to fight God. I know I received a great deal of peace when I finally yielded to the call on my life to be a pastor. I even put out a fleece – which God answered (ask me about it sometime).  If you’re not sure – maybe some soul searching is in order – some time on your knees before God – asking Lord’s – what would you have of me?  God has a plan for all of us!

Are we willing to respond to God’s call on or plan for our lives? Are we willing to allow God to take our church in a new direction? Are we open to God’s will in our lives? Or are we running from God? Take a lesson from Jonah – you can run but you can’t hid from God! Just saying!

Just something to think about today as you go on your way.

July 16, 2014 - Posted by | Church, Community, Daily Devotion, Discipleship, Encouragement, Evangelism, Faith Journey, Family, From the Pastor, Leadership, Outreach, Personal, Prayer, Theology | , , , , , ,

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