Which Way Will You Choose?
By: Cynthia Peoples
(Based on the message found in the Holy Bible from the book of Jonah)
“Jonah, get up,” said the Master. “Get up, and go to Nineveh.”
Jonah pulled the covers up over his head and scrunched down even further into the bed. “Leave me alone, Lord,” he muttered angrily, “I’d rather be dead than have to go to Nineveh and associate with all those stupid, crazy, sinners. They don’t deserve to be forgiven!”
“I said, get up now,Jonah, and go to Nineveh, and tell them their city and their lives are going to be destroyed if they don’t change their ways.”
Jonah covered his ears with his hands, bowed his head, squeezed his eyes shut, and snarled. He tried to ignore God’s voice.
“NO WAY, I am not going!” shouted Jonah. He jumped out of bed, got dressed, rushed out the door, and headed to the ship docks. “I’ve got to get out of here,” he said, “I can’t take it anymore.”
When Jonah arrived at the docks, he approached the very first boat he saw. “Hey man,” Jonah asked the sailor, “Where is this ship headed?”
“To Tarshish,” the sailor said. “But you better come on if you’re going; we’re fixing to ship out now.”
Well, Jonah knew Tarshish was in the opposite direction of Nineveh, and that suited him just fine. So he rushed aboard the big ship like he was running away from the fires of hell. He stood on the wooden deck, his stomach growled at the aroma of food being prepared, and he quickly moved out of the way as the deck hands prepared the boat for departure. The anchor slowly rose. The big boat jerked, and slowly made its way through the calm waters. Jonah looked up at the clear blue sky and grinned from ear to ear. “Yes,” he said, “I’m on my way to the good life now!”
Jonah walked around the deck until he spotted some empty crates placed haphazardly along the sides of the ship. He sat down on top of the largest one, crossed his legs, and leaned back against the side of the boat. He fell asleep and woke to the sound of thunder. He sat up and watched the lightning streak across the dark heavens. The waters were filled with gray, murky, angry waves and splashed against the sides of the boat. Jonah grasped the ship’s railing and held on tightly, struggling to stand up. The deck mates were rushing around trying to prepare the boat for the storm as the skipper yelled out the orders.
“Man,” the captain said, “This storm is raging from the very hand of our God. He is terribly angry with someone, somewhere.” Jacob shook uncontrollably and dropped his head. He was filled with quilt, shame, and remorse.
“Who has caused our God to be so angry with us?” They asked, “Whoever it is will pay for his deed.”
“Okay, Okay!” Jonah confessed, “It’s me! Just throw me overboard, and let me die!”
But instead of dying Jonah was thrown into the sea and a whale came along and swallowed him whole. He was being tossed to and fro within a huge slimy pit hole and there were all sorts of half-eaten creatures being tossed around about him. The big fish swam fast and hard, and Jonah was tossed back and forth against the sides of the whale’s big belly. And Jonah just wanted to die.
For three days, Jonah wallowed around in the whale’s belly and indulged in a self-pity party. But finally he’d had enough. “Okay, Lord!” he cried, “Okay, I don’t care about those stupid people and I’m sure not happy about it, but just get me out of here and I’ll go to Nineveh.”
And God told the whale to spit Jonah out and Jonah went to Nineveh.
How many times do we do this same thing? God tries to tell us something, but we don’t listen and we go our own way and do right the opposite of what God wants us to do or not to do. Then we end up in hot water, painful circumstances, misery and pay huge consequences……. then wonder why we’re struggling.
Well God doesn’t need us to accomplish His will, but He chooses to use us in spite of ourselves. God used Jonah in spite of his unwillingness to obey, but he had to pay the consequences until he finally submitted to God’s will.
So, we need to heed and learn from Jonah’s story and choose to yield to God’s will for our lives instead of trying to go our own way.
So, which way will YOU CHOOSE?