Day 12 - Call
Day 12 - listen here
Jonah, 1: 1-3
And the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying,
‘Up you get, and off you go to Nineveh, the great city, and preach in it. For the outcry of her wickedness has come up to me.’
But Jonah got up to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord; and he went down to Joppa, and found a boat that was going to Tarshish; and he paid his fare, and went aboard, to sail to Tarshish with them from the presence of the Lord.
When God calls a person in the bible, they are commonly reluctant. Moses pleads a speech impediment. Jeremiah excuses himself on the grounds of immaturity. The most stubborn, like Jonah, turn around and begin running as fast as possible in the opposite direction!
Jonah turns heel without a word. Was he understandably scared, as we might be if instructed to go and preach repentance to Beijing or New York? Or was he motivated by some kind of prejudice, irritated that God should send him to those of all people?
Whatever it was, Jonah’s vocation vacation in Tarshish is foiled by divine ingenuity. As we all recall, God’s gonna send a whale. There is a lot of Jewish humour in Jobthe book of Jonah. And I believe this can be seriously helpful in the difficult places to which discernment often leads both devout and less devout people.
Job’s Jonah’s comedy cuts both ways. To the rebellious person, who has decided to say “no” to God’s call, it replies: “so, you’ve said no to God – good luck with that!” But to the scrupulous person, who worries that they have missed their vocation, it offers words of comfort: “Don’t worry dear, it’s very hard indeed – impossible, really – to outsmart God’s relentless love.”
I need to be honest with you. I feel that what you are asking of me is unreasonable, impossible.
In the past, I refused. I tried to run away from you – once or many times. It didn’t work.
You always found a way to bring me back. You’re God, and, it turns out, I’m not.
So I’m here. I don’t feel willing even now. And I won’t pretend that I’m at all happy about the situation in which you’ve placed me.
But at least I’m here, and I hope that is good enough for now.
P.S. I still love you.