(May 4, 2020)

Jonah 1:2; 3:2Arise, go to the great city of Nineveh and preach…

Seven Hebrew words are repeated twice verbatim; they are translated: “Arise, go to the great city of Nineveh and preach.” And consider how they are prefaced:

Chapter 1:2: “The word of the Lord came to Jonah.”

Chapter 3:2 “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time.”

Now a lot had happened between these two verses. Jonah had intentionally run away; a great storm came upon the ship; the sailors tossed Jonah into the sea; he was stuck in the belly of the great fish for three days and three nights; and, he was vomited onto dry land. Then, he finally arrived in Nineveh and began to preach.

Yet one thing remained unchanged between these two verses: The Call. God spoke once. God spoke again. The call was still there.

The Call of God is often like a drumbeat: steady, deliberate, metered. It does not go away. It is not easily ignored. It is a constant as the beat of your heart. God may give you His call years in advance, or it may emerge in the present. But God won’t give you more than you can handle; He will not throw you into a situation that you are unprepared for. He will grow you, prepare you, work in you.

It is bigger than you. If you think you can handle something all on your own strength, it is not a call. For God’s work we need God’s Spirit.

The first human reaction to God’s call is often one of “no.” Like Jonah. Like Moses. It is amazing that God uses us people, even with all our brokenness. We often resist. A Call can change, but it doesn’t simply go away. Jonah’s call was not to preach to Nineveh his whole life. But it was there for a season; it did not just “fade away;” he did go and preach there.

So what has God put on your heart? Are you at a crossroads? Are you thinking of something new, something bold? Anxious about it? Wondering what “it” is?

God is not in a rush. His call to you will be steady. It will not leave, nor will it speed up. Like a steady drumbeat. It will be confirmed as you go. If your first response is resistance, hesitance, or a sense of unworthiness, then you are probably on the right track. No one decides God’s call on their own; it is a gift from God that the community affirms. …Who might help you discern your calling?

You can try to run away from it, but as Jonah would tell you, in the end that just doesn’t really work. It will be lived out at the right time, right when God decides.

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Father, may we be open to You in New Ways. Help us discern the drumbeat of Your Voice in our souls. In the Name of Christ our Lord.