The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time,
“Set out for the great city of Nineveh, and announce to it the message that I will tell you.”
So Jonah made ready and went to Nineveh, according to the Lord’s bidding.
The opening of today’s first reading caught my attention. “The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time” but I was immediately curious about the first time the word of the Lord came to Jonah. What did He say the first time? Were the messages related? The Book of Jonah is only four chapters and it opens with the word of the Lord coming to Jonah for the first time. That message, too, related to the wickedness of those in Nineveh.
Yet the first time Jonah heard the word of the Lord, he literally ran in the opposite direction of Nineveh, boarded a ship, found a place to get comfortable and promptly fell asleep. Ah, I can relate to Jonah. I, too, have felt God’s nudging and run in another direction or ignored it all together. At those times, I found it rather easy to dismiss His call due to a multitude of reasons such as:
I’ve got way too much going on right now.
What will people say?
I don’t have the necessary skill set.
Next time, yes, next time I will be more available.
Jonah’s ship hit rough waters, his shipmates threw him overboard and the Lord sent a great fish to swallow Jonah,
and he remained in the belly of the fish for three days and three nights and then delivered to dry land.
While I cannot related to that experience exactly, I have experienced rough waters, the betrayal of others, and,
mercifully, the warmth and safely of good people to love, protect, and help me get to safe spot.
Today’s reading tells us that the Lord, thankfully, does not stop at the first call. Graciously, He gives us many
chances to hear His voice, listen deeply, and have the courage to answer Him. As a parent, I have experienced everything from eagerness to complete silence when I call my children. I am left to wonder; wouldn’t it just be
easier to answer the Lord with joy the first time around? How is the Lord calling you in this season of your life?
Do you have courage to answer? If not, what do you fear?
“If today you hear the voice of God, harden not your heart” (Psalm 95).
Kate Casey, her husband, Jim, and their three daughters live in Keller, Texas.