Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Hosanna Loud Hosanna"1 (Lyrics)
Jonah 1:3-4,11-12 – 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. Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. The sea was getting rougher and rougher. So they asked him, "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 that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you." (NIV)
It was time to deworm the livestock again. This is a task that either goes well or it doesn't. Dealing with the goats is relatively easy, but coping with Frank, my gelding, can be a totally different scenario if he decides to balk at the process. Unfortunately, he did so. We tried the wormer paste in between two of his favourite crackers. No dice. I stroked him and talked to him while my daughter sought to slip the concoction into the side of his mouth. Forget that. We tied him up and got stern with him. He just jumped around as if he were wild, as we leapt out of the way. Finally, enough was enough. We took him out of the corral, and led him over to two trees that have grown very close together. The space between them is just wide enough for Frank's head and neck to go through. I led him into position and then we fastened a lead rope onto both sides of his halter and tied each rope to the tree closest to it.
Frank hates it when we put him into this position, and he often fights it by kicking his back feet, or trying to pull his head back through, or pushing himself forward. But all of his fighting is futile, and he has done this often enough to know it. So, this day when we had him fastened to the trees, he just stood there without a fight while we administered the dewormer. Yet, how much easier it would have been for all of us, especially Frank, if he had just graciously submitted in the first place and had taken his medicine.
How much easier it is for each of us, too, as God's children, if we just graciously accept His commands to us and follow them, whatever they may be. Yet, like Jonah, we, too, often hear or know what God is calling us to do, but we turn aside and run away, so to speak. We put it off. We pretend that it doesn't matter. We will do it later — or maybe never — who knows. But, just like Jonah and Frank, when we do so, there is a consequence to be paid. That consequence can be anywhere from minor to major, depending upon the situation. Whatever the case, we could have avoided it, if only we had heard, trusted, and obeyed what Jesus had asked us to do in the first place.
Now really, people! Wouldn't that be a smart idea?
Prayer: Father God, help us to be children of light who hear, trust, and obey You in all circumstances. Encourage us and empower us, that we might make the smart choice when You speak to us, that You, the world, and we ourselves may receive the utmost of blessings. In Christ's name, we pray. Amen.