At the all day worship training session I attended last week, we did an interesting workshop on how to read scripture as a part of Sunday morning worship. The leader used the tiny book of Jonah to illustrate how to take the scripture apart and read it with fresh eyes, fresh voices, fresh perspectives.
Jonah is a small book that packs a whollop! We only dissected the first chapter and I felt challenged.
First of all, have you ever felt a clear sense that God was calling you to do something very specific? Even something that required you to get up and go somewhere? Do something? Speak to someone?
I've always wanted to be a nurse. There was never a time in my life that I doubted, questioned, or wondered if that was from God or if it was accurate. I'm grateful for the clarity I felt. But that kind of clarity seemed to just always be there. So what about other kinds of calls that God uses?
I'm talking about...well....like: "Tuesday I was walking on the treadmill, when God spoke to me and told me to...(insert God's message)."
I've only experienced one time in my life where I felt a profound sense that God called me to go do something very specific. After Hurricane Katrina hit in 2005, I signed up with the Red Cross and received a call to serve on a medical team. When the lady called me to say I'd been chosen, she said these exact words: "Anne, they asked for you by name..." Something in my gut shifted into place, and I got a chill and just knew God wanted me to go. The test of that came when my family agreed with the call. (this is the nutshell version) :)
But in reading Jonah, I realized something. That even when Jonah was running away being disobedient and the storm came. The others on the boat asked him why this was happening and who he was. After telling them he was a Hebrew and believed in the God of the land and the sea. And after they threw him overboard and the seas calmed--they made confession to God. (paraphrasing here). So that even when Jonah wasn't obedient, men still came to a saving knowledge of God. Does that mean that we can be lax and disobedient? By no means.
Because when Jonah finally turned and listened to God, it says that the city of Nineveh repented, and they were 120,000 in number, a number far more than the few men who made confession on the small boat Jonah was thrown from.
So, the lessons I take away:
--God does call us to do very specific things and go to very specific places
--There is no where we can run from Him that He does not inhabit
--Even if we run or are disobedient, He is sovereign and all humanity will witness this
--But when we are obedient, His more perfect will is accomplished.
Probably more often God's call comes in a still small voice asking us to do smaller more ordinary things. But God's work is extraordinary!
So, when have you been called?
What were you called to do?