Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time. (Jonah 3:1)
I occasionally help conduct group activities at a local nursing home. Once, while delivering food to a resident who had been unable to attend, I felt an urgency to talk to him about the gospel. Second-guessing myself, I wondered if he would be offended or if it was an inopportune time. I also let a critical attitude (thinking of this man’s negative reputation) limit my faith in what God could do and influence my sense of responsibility. Ultimately, my obligation to get back to the activity convinced me I had no time to talk.
Soon afterward, I found out he had been taken to the hospital and was not expected to live. God was gracious and allowed the man enough recovery to return to the facility. I made it a priority to talk to him and had the privilege of leading him to Christ. He died not many weeks after that.
Nineveh was too important to God to let Jonah prevent them from hearing his warning. Jonah was also too important to God to let him avoid the life of ministry he was meant to live. Though God did not force anyone’s obedience, he worked with them and worked out their circumstances to give them another opportunity to obey. God’s patience with us and his sometimes-repeated calls are revealing expressions of his nature of grace.
Whatever your past, ask God how to proceed from this point forward.
Debbie Shaw is a graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University and resides in North Carolina with her husband, Lee. She enjoys gardening, painting, reading, and coffee.
© 2023 Wesleyan Publishing House. Reprinted from Light from the Word. Used by permission. Scriptures taken from the Holy Bible, New International Version®, NIV®.