Has God ever spoken to you through an 8-year-old and put you in your place? It happened to me the other night. I won’t lie to you, his questions ruffled my feathers. We ended storytime and said our prayers. All of this was over Jonah and the Big Fish.
If you have ever had the pleasure of teaching my son in Sunday school or church, you will know his slight obsession with Jonah and the Big Fish. He’s been intrigued by this story from the Bible since the beginning of his time, haha! We are reading through a children’s Bible right now and the stories are going more in-depth than just your regular children’s Bible storybook. We got to the story of Jonah and the Big Fish. I gave half a thought to ask him if we could skip this one and go on to the next because we’ve read this story over a million times, he knows it. Knowing this is his favorite one, I opened up and started reading. He was excited and talking nonstop about Jonah and the fish. When I was done reading the story, he started asking all kinds of questions. His last question was a slap in the face. He asked, “If Jonah was a good person and loved God, why would he run away from what God was telling him to do, why would anyone? Wouldn’t you want to do what Gods telling you to do?” That is how the Lord used my son to step all over my toes and put me back in my place.
I’ve been battling a cold. Usually, I can power through. However, this one slowed me down and put me on the couch, not doing much of anything. I believe the Lord knocked my feet out from under me. So I would “Be Still” and really listen to what he has to say to me. All I could hear was my son’s question loud and clear on repeat. So, with my 2-year-old little girl snuggled up next to me on the couch and Frozen on in the background, I opened my Bible app on my phone and scrolled through some study plans of the book of Jonah and picked two out. I wasn’t prepared to see a little of myself in Jonah. I never thought of myself that way. I wasn’t prepared for all the toe stepping that happened and the overwhelming feeling of guilt. Guilt from being disobedient to what the Lord was and is telling me to do.
I often have the same conversation, with the same little boy who “put me in my place”, I say “No, you can not do what you want, I told you to do this” he replies with “But I don’t want to do that, I want to do this and I want to do it this way” and my reply to him is “No, I want you to do this and do it this way because I’m your mom and I said so and what I say goes, It’s not up for discussion.” I will take full blame in passing that on to him, he gets his control issues and wanting to run things just so from his momma. This is the same exact conversation I have with God all the time. I can just see my heavenly father, up there waving his hands around at me, as I do with my own child. Telling me, “No, this is not what I want you to do, I want you to do this and I want you to do it this way because I’m your Father and I said so. This is the plan I have for your life and this my daughter, is the direction you need to go. Now, are you going to follow me with your whole heart, to where I’m going to take you?” We all know that the decision lies with us. Are we going to listen to what the Lord tells us to do and are we going to follow after him with our whole heart, without reservations?
In a part of the devotional of Kanayo Dike-Oduah’s 4 day Jonah challenge, she says, “Understand that the things God tells us to do, the thing he considers to be our purpose has a greater impact. Purpose isn’t just for you! It’s for others to benefit from. You accomplishing your purpose is you being a point of provision for someone in ‘need’! You accomplishing your purpose and divine assignment is allowing someone to hear God’s word and get a chance to be saved! This was the case with Jonah, and it is the same for us. Our obedience to God is so key. If you don’t want to obey God for yourself, please at least obey him for the people that will benefit from your obedience.”
This little passage from the devotion shook me. I never want my saying to Jesus, “Sorry you’re calling me to that. It’s scary, uncomfortable, it’s not my thing and I don’t want to do it”, to negatively impact someone’s life.
As Christians, we’re all called to ministry. Jesus tells us to, “go and make disciples.” It might not be, standing on stage in front of hundreds or thousands of people telling them about Jesus. It might be, at the dinner table, during storytime, during night time prayers. It might be, while you’re riding down the road listening to the radio and listening to your kid’s chatter. Trust me, our kids will ask a million questions between here and there. It might be, with a friend over a cup of coffee. Maybe with complete strangers in Walmart or a family member during a get-together. You speaking up during Bible study or planting that seed of salvation through Jesus to children and youth.
We all have spiritual gifts and a calling from God in our life. We need to use them in our home, church, and community. Trust me, I know how easy it is to just say “I like the comfort of my own little box over here where I can just read my Bible, drink my coffee, worry about myself and think everyone else out there in the world is the preacher’s problem, not mine.” But if we actually listen, hear, and do what the Lord says even if it’s uncomfortable and outside of our box, our lives will be changed too, not just someone else’s.
Some of us can keep running and running and running from a call God has put on our lives and as God did with Jonah, he will stop us in our tracks and tell us the same thing again that he has called us to do. If it is His will for your life and his plan, it’s going to happen. I also can tell you from experience that if you are a Christian and are not following in the direction the Lord wants you to go in, he will roadblock you every step of the way until you turn in the right direction that he wants you going in. That doesn’t mean that what you are doing is bad, it just means that you aren’t doing what the Lord wants you to do and he wants you over here doing this not over there doing that.
For me, it was terrifying and scary to open up about myself, my family and our special needs life. It’s scary opening up about my past struggles with faith and the church regarding my son. The Lord was telling me to write and to share my story. I didn’t want to. That was taking me way out of my comfy little box I was in. So, after a lot of back and forth with God, I started writing and sharing my thoughts and my life with you. Even after I started writing and sharing, I still continued to ask God if he was sure this is what he wanted. He gave me the confirmation that I needed, in the middle of the night from a complete stranger. A few nights ago I couldn’t sleep. I opened up my blog and the comment, “I needed this.” was recently posted. I knew at that moment that I was doing what the Lord wanted me to do. This isn’t about me, this is about Jesus and telling people about his love and his healing power and about what he can do for you in your life, no matter what your circumstances are. It is about us pointing people to the cross.
Romans 11:29 says “For the gifts and the calling are irrevocable” They are not changed and they are final. I can tell you, any plan God has for my life no matter how scary it is or how much I’m out of my comfort zone or how I’m going to get from point A to point B, that his plan is always better than my plan. Back to my son’s question, Why are you running from God and don’t you want to do what he’s telling you to do?