The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him [Jonah], “What should we do to you to make the sea calm down for us?” “Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” he replied, “and it will become calm. I know it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”- Jonah 1:11-12
In Chapter 8 of All the Places to Go, John Ortberg concludes his discussion of four reasons that hold us back from saying “yes” to God’s open door.
4. Our sense to guilt or inadequacy may hold us back. When Jonah decides to stop running, he thinks his story is over due to his mistake. As Pastor Ortberg states, however, “God’s yes is louder than my no.” But Jonah’s “no” is pretty loud, for he tells the sailors to throw him overboard.
To the reader’s amazement, the sailors don’t do it. Apparently they have more compassion on Jonah than Jonah had on the people of Nineveh. John points out there’s an important lesson for us here:
“You have to be really careful about judging who the good guys are and who the bad guys are, who is on God’s side and who is not on God’s side.”
Before the sailors tossed Jonah overboard, they invoked Yahweh’s name three times in prayer. The ship of Tarshish became God’s temple. God’s story is so big, it’s also about Tarshish. Jonah thought he’d thwart what God wanted to do. Just as with Jonah, God is at work in our lives in ways we can’t even begin to dream of.
Today’s question: Following your vocation loss, how has God’s yes been louder than your no? Please share.
Tomorrow’s blog: “Going down”