Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: Pros and Cons (08/14/14)
TITLE: The Extraordinary Journey of an Angry Man
By Dave Walker
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God says, "Go and preach judgement to a pagan nation."
• It's a good message. They deserve to hear what happens to scum like them.
• I'd enjoy being the one to tell them.
• They might hurt me; even kill me.
• They're foreigners. God's messages are for His people.
The cons outweigh the pros. I'll not listen.
Putting distance between me and God, I board a ship for Tarshish.
The wind shrieks like a thousand demons turning the sails to wild, contorted rags. The sea rages -- a giant behemoth, thrashing, twisting and turning, tossing our ship like a helpless plaything caught in the teeth of such fury.
"Are you responsible for this? Who is this God you serve?" The sailors' voices are snatched from their mouths as they shout to me above the howl of the storm. "What have you done? How can you make it right?"
I know what must be done -- throw me overboard, remove the curse.
• Perhaps God will have mercy on them.
• Then the ship will be saved.
• I'll die. A BIG CON. But if the ship goes down, I'll die anyway.
I go overboard.
It's dark in here. I'm not dead. The dead aren't tossed about in a soft, slimy container that's swooping and diving and whose floor moves under them like a living thing. Amazingly, I can breathe. Where am I? I hear distant splashing.
One thing's certain. God has rescued me from ferocious waters that sucked me down and threw me carelessly, like a rag doll, from current to current. Despite my disobedience, God saved me.
I should repent; call to Him and see if He'll give me another chance.
• Perhaps, having brought me thus far, He'll let me live.
• Having saved me so miraculously, surely He'll let me complete the mission I ran away from.
• I'll have to swallow my pride and do what He says.
"With a song of thanksgiving, I will sacrifice to You, my God. What I have vowed, I will make good."
I don't know why God brought me to this hell-hole. Prostitutes wink coquettishly on every second corner, drunkards drool and stagger through the streets, a red-faced man shouts furiously at his donkey, flaying it with a switch.
I should get on with what the Lord has told me to do.
• I'll enjoy giving it to this decadent bunch, who'll get what they deserve. I'll tell them what's coming.
• Maybe God will let me stick around to see it happen.
• It's a dangerous place. They could still kill me.
"Forty more days and Ninevah will be overturned! Hear the word of the Lord. Forty more days and you'll be destroyed."
What's this? The prostitutes are weeping, turning into their houses. The man has stopped beating his donkey and is nursing it. The drunkards are going home to their wives. This is not what I expected. How can God now judge the city? I know the kind of God He is. He's going to relent and spare them -- a foreign people. I just know it.
I'm sulking. I want that city destroyed and God had mercy. Then, as the sun tears at my skin with its blistering rays, the crusted earth beside me breaks open and a plant appears. Unfolding and sprouting as it grows, in no time it provides welcome shade and I am miraculously refreshed. But then I'm light-headed and gasping for breath in a furnace once more as the plant quickly withers. Is it worth serving God?
What's that? The voice of God?
The pros and cons of serving Me, Jonah:
• Your angry heart will be changed. You're concerned about a vine that died after giving you shade. I'm concerned for the lives of 120,000 people in Nineveh.
• You'll come under the same mercy I showed to Nineveh. You're in as much need of it as they are. I love you and them.
• None whatsoever.
God is the same yesterday, today and forever. (Heb 13:8). As it was for Jonah, so it is for you. There are no cons in serving Him.
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