“But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.”
God speaks, we get all excited then comes the doubt; how can I…, what can I…., why can I…, and who cares anyhow…. In the marketing and the psychological world this doubt is called “cognitive dissonance;” part of our thinking is “all in” while another part says, “not sure this is the right thing to do.” Something has to give and often times the solution involves running, fast! Fear has a way of winning out and though our intentions are great our tendency is to hide from uncertainty. For Jonah, God called him to hold an entire city accountable, to take a stand in the name of the Lord; pretty heavy stuff, even for a card-carrying prophet like Jonah. Jonah knew he should listen to God and that would be the right thing, yet all he wanted to do was to run and hide. Prophets are no different than you and me in many ways; they have doubts and they question their abilities, their commitment, and their time. Maybe our “dissonance” lies in our reliance on ourselves rather than on God’s grace, mercy, and power. Jesus shows up in our lives and calls us to be “all in” for him, to make disciples and to know that by faith our lives and the lives around us can be transformed and made new yet we ask ourselves, “who am I, that the voice who calmed the sea, would call out through the rain and calm the storm in me?” (Casting Crowns) You are a child of God, so unbelievably loved by God that through Christ God will “neither leave you nor forsake you.” (Hebrews 13:5) As those fears and doubts start to add up and you begin to look around for your running shoes, remember the words of the Psalmist, “with the Lord on my side I do not fear.” Maybe it is all about trusting in the Lord even and especially in those times of doubt. Even to the end of the age, to the end of the age Jesus will be with you. Jesus is “all in for you,” no matter where life may lead. Thank you Jesus!
Rev. Tom Joyce, pastor
Fields United Methodist Church