Can you identify with Jonah’s response of running the other way when God calls him to do something difficult? I know I can. Though I’ve never actually boarded a boat and headed in the opposite direction of where God wanted me to go, I have felt like getting as far as possible away from some things He’s asked me to do.
He’ll prod me to ask a question He wants to answer, but I’ll suspect I won’t like the answer, so I don’t ask the question. Then, I’ll get so uncomfortable not knowing the answer, that eventually I always give in and ask the question, knowing full well that once I do, God will answer and I’ll feel obligated to abide by what He says.
Besides, I probably couldn’t manage to do what Jonah did when faced with a tough challenge. Considering my astounding ability to get incredibly lost, I’d likely end up taking the boat I intended to avoid out of fear and board the one God wanted me to get on in the first place.
There are countless examples of people in the Bible responding to God calling them with the equivalent of: “Who? ME?! You want ME to WHAT?! I’m the last person qualified for that task!” And even though God knows that’s the truth, He often asks us to believe, say, and/or do things that are way out of our comfort zones. In fact, sometimes it seems God goes out of His way to find the least likely person to complete a task so that His grace, strength, and favor are blatantly obvious to everyone when the impossible is achieved through the improbable.
Take David and Goliath, for instance. David’s brothers were in battle against the Philistines. He was back home tending sheep. One day, he comes to bring them some food and hears this behemoth of a man ranting and raving about how he’s going to wipe out this Chosen People of Israel. The army, fully-equipped for battle is cowering in fear. David’s older brothers are shaking in their armor, but this scrawny little shepherd comes out of nowhere and stands up to Goliath. Where does he get the audacity to do this? From his faith in a God who is much greater than any giant.
The soldiers are all staring at Goliath, focusing on the power of their enemy, while David sizes up the same giant, shrugs and says, “With God on my side, I can take him.”
Each of us are challenged to face our fears, weaknesses, and sins by focusing on how much bigger God is than they are. It’s not easy to do. Even in situations that register significantly lower on the Richter scale, I often have to be reminded to fix my eyes on God and His abundance rather than worry about me and what I lack.
This week I’ve been struggling with doing something God has asked of me, that my husband also agrees is the right thing to do, but that I’m not looking forward to at all. I much prefer offering support and encouragement to friends rather than revealing the depths of my weaknesses, but since God seems to be telling me to do this and Kevin also believes it's necessary, I'm sure He'll give me the grace and strength to get through it.
A couple days ago, I was talking with my husband about the upcoming conversation I’m all but dreading and said, “I’d like to just stick my head in the sand.”
He promptly responded in a serious voice: “So you want to be an ostrich for Halloween? I don’t know where you’d be able to find a costume like that.”
I couldn’t help but laugh. Yup, he’s all mine. I hope God provided the amazing men and women in the Bible with such comic relief. I know prayer and laughter are what gets me by.
Lord, help me to focus on You above all else and accept the grace you give to do Your will. Amen.