I am currently reading through the study Jonah: Navigating a Life Interrupted by Priscilla Shirer. I see Jonah, so much more clearly, because at moments it is as though I am looking in a mirror. I too have run in the opposite direction of the Lord, and for less noble reasons than Jonah. Out of stubbornness, anger, frustration, I have chosen in the past to do it “my way,” and when that didn’t work I refused to ask for God’s help, because I wanted to prove I could get myself out of my own mess.
Guess what? I couldn’t. The harder I dug my heels in, the deeper my hole became, and the darker things were around me.
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death. Proverbs 14:12
I currently have a baby, who is on his way to being a toddler, and his new “trick” is to arch his back, and stiffen his body when I try to put him in the car seat. Have you ever tried to put a toddler in a car seat when he/she didn’t want to go in it? It isn’t easy. In fact, it is significantly harder than you would imagine considering how small they are compared to you. This is a similar situation when we harden and stiffen our hearts to when God is trying to teach us, point us in His direction. We don’t “want” to go to Ninevah, whatever/wherever that may be. It doesn’t fit into our plans, and so we arch our back, stiffen our bodies and say, “No, I don’t want to!” The difference is, God is much more powerful than us, but will not force us. He may discipline us, He may send us conviction through the Holy Spirit, or remind us to listen to Him through scripture or friends, but he will not force us the way we can force our toddler into the car seat. Instead, when we humbly submit to God’s will, He receives us. Even after Jonah fled in the opposite direction of where God wanted him to go, Jonah called out to God, and God heard him.
He said: "In my distress I called to the LORD, and he answered me.” Jonah 2:2
God hears us when we call to Him. He does not leave us nor forsake us. We just have to submit to Him, and allow Him to show us His path for us. “Open communication is one of the first signs of a heart being molded by God.” (Shirer, 65) How much easier will it be for God to mold me, if I don’t stiffen and harden, throw myself back in a fit, when he sets me on His path for me?