Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Rejoice The Lord Is King"1 (Lyrics)
Jonah 1:1-3 – The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me." But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord. (NIV)
Every year, come mid-winter, when I am out cleaning the corral in the freezing cold, I contemplate selling the livestock. But as each year goes by, I find that I contemplate this plan for a shorter and shorter span. Why? Because I am learning to remind myself more quickly that come spring, I will be so glad that I didn't sell out. Come spring, I will enjoy being out and about with the pony and buggy. Come spring, I will delight in watching the goats and the horses frolic and enjoy munching on the scrub around the property, keeping it neat and tidy for me. Come spring, the corral will be a blink of the eye to clean up every day instead of a daily, dreaded chore.
This year, as I once again contemplated selling out, such a thought perished within moments, and another thought took its place: how often do I sell out on something that God has called me to do or to pray about, because I don't see it happening the way that I want it to, or because it isn't progressing as quickly as I would like, or because it is just a downright difficult task that I'm not enjoying? Whoa! I thought. This is heavy duty! Yet as I contemplated it, I had to admit that there have been times when I have walked away, and God has had to call me back to task, just as He did Jonah. Thankfully, there were no great fish involved in my scenario.
I am also thankful that in His strength, I not only eventually finished His assigned tasks, even if it did take a few U-turns to get there, but also I realized that in His timing, spring always comes. I remembered how glad I was that I had stuck it out and gleaned the benefit of both finishing the work and learning a bit more stick-to-it-ive discipline through the process.
Maybe today, you are considering selling out on a task or process that you have been called to by God. If so, take a moment and consider the fact that spring always does come. What is a burden today, a drudgery, or just a downright yucky job, has a purpose. In His strength, as you stick to it, you will be not only be growing spiritually, but you will also be able, by faith, to look forward to the success of the finished task.
Prayer: Lord God, thank You that You are so patient with us, and always there to call us back to task when we want to — or even do — turn around and walk away from something that You have called us to do. May our hearts and minds be open to Your voice as You call us back when necessary, that we might stick with it, no matter what, until the task is completed and spring has once again sprung. Amen.
P.S. If you decide not to listen and not to go back to what He has called you to do, watch out for those great fish!