One of my biggest struggles on top of leaving the past behind and ridding myself of the guilt and the pain of which I unknowingly try so hard to hold onto… Is trying to control what is for God to control. Then, I am reminded of who He is and who I am.
He is the Great I Am, God Almighty. Christ alone sits on the throne. He is the everlasting, who is, and was, and is to come. He reigns supreme. He is in control. He holds my future. He knows the beginning from the end. He holds all time in His hands. He knows what will be before it is. He knows what has happened and what will happen. There is no surprising Jesus. He is God Almighty.
Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not laboured, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: And should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than sixscore thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?
Jonah 4:10-11 KJV
I’ve written about Jonah before. I have a like/dislike relationship with Jonah, because, if I’m honest, I can relate with him more than I care to admit. I sometimes compare myself to him. We all know the story. Jonah was swallowed up by the big fish God prepared for him, while he was fleeing from God’s presence, not willing to go where God said to go and do what God told him to do.
No. Was he the only one, or even the first one not willing – not desirous to go and do what God commanded? No. Was he to be the last? Not at all.
Still, I learned a new lesson from him story. I have lingered on the end Jonah’s story… When he was angered that the people of Ninevah repented and he went and sat depressed and angry.. Then God prepared the gourd for him, to cover his head. That made him happy, for a moment. Then, I prepared a worm to consume the gourd and he was angry again, to the point of desiring death. He was upset for the gourd, something that he had neither prepared, nor formed, he was angered about what God did with it. It was never about the gourd!
Like Jonah, I need to learn my role in the grand scheme of things. That was the lesson for Jonah and it’s the lesson for me. For the people of Ninevah – really, God could have sent ANYONE to them, or no one at all. God could have turned their hearts to repentance with Jonah or without him. Even if Jonah went to them willingly, without the big fish part, God could have kept their hearts hardened if He chose. Nothing is done without God.
I am learning my role in all of this. It’s an honor and a blessing to be used of God. He uses whom He chooses. He will move upon the hearts He chooses with or without me. The question that resonated with me today was, Will I still be obedient? Will I stop looking at myself, stop trying to be in control and look to God who has all power in His hands? Will I recognize that I can do nothing on my own, I am nothing on my own? It is His breath that I breath, His blood that covers me, His power that shields me, His banner of love over me, His Spirit working through me! It is not about where God sends me or what I am to do, It is about my obedience to where He says to go and what He says to do.
You see, Jonah ran from what God called him to do originally. Sometimes, it’s tough to want to do what God calls us to do. This didn’t take God by surprise. He had already prepared the big fish to swallow Jonah. I wanted to do things my way, although I heard what God said clearly. And then, thankfully, I was reminded of Jonah. Oh God, don’t swallow me up! I cried out in prayer today. Although the big fish that God may have prepared to get me on track may or may not be an actual big fish, I was reminded, I’m glad to have been reminded of Jonah. I’m glad to have been reminded of who I am, who He is and my role and purpose is all of this.