Time to get out of the Whale
So, you’ve been going along quite nicely in your faith walk these past few months and then all of a sudden, BOOM! God has asked you to do something. Something you’re not keen on, something that creates fear, making you want to run. We want the change, we want to see the change and yes, we want to BE the change. So why do we resist God when He asks us to change from the inside out so we can fulfil the calling that is on our lives? Because, as John C. Maxwell points out, “Some people are open to change as long as it doesn’t inconvenience them or cost them anything.” Don’t worry, you’re in good company because the prophet Jonah’s attitude stunk as much as the whale’s gut he’d been sitting in for three days when God took him on a journey that would bring many people to God. Maybe like Jonah, it’s time you got out of the whale.
This ever-changing season has stretched and shaped us in ways that we never thought we would have to navigate. However, we cannot sit in the belly of the whale and hide, hoping that this all goes away. It’s time to get out of the whale and BE the change! Over the past six months, God has asked me to step up and step into my dream of helping people to live out a better story, but that means trusting God for everything. I have to admit, I’ve resisted many times with all the changes God’s asked me to work through over these past few months. Mainly my internal ones; like a fearful mindset, trusting God completely and knowing that He’s my Provider and Source. Why do I have to be the one who’s inconvenienced? Why is it costing me something? There have been days where sitting in the darkness of the whale of my old life seemed more comforting than pushing through my fearful, untrusting attitude and stepping into the unknown. However, God keeps on reminding me that I have a responsibility to help guide precious souls to Him, and whether I like it or not, I have to change my thinking and trust his will in my life if I’m to be all that He has called me to be.
The Assyrians were the arch enemy of Israel and Jonah hated what they did. Now you can see why Jonah was not happy when God wanted them all to be saved. Aggressive in nature, these people had built their empire by bullying and conquering other nations. So, when God had the audacity to ask Jonah to go down to Nineveh and preach a message of repentance to them, he was having none of it. ‘In hearing those instructions, Jonah got up and ran toward Tarshish from the Eternal’s presence.’ (Jonah 1:3) Well, we all know how that turned out. Jonah would rather be swallowed up by a whale and die than see those Assyrians repent and be saved. Jonah needed his own thinking and outlook to change and see the Assyrians from God’s perspective.
God will send storms and whales to keep the grace and mercy flowing through us as believers and teach us to lean on Him when He tells us to do the hard stuff. God’s mercy toward Jonah showed the same redemption power that would save the Assyrians. So much so that,“…the people of Nineveh started to trust in Jonah’s God!” (Jonah 3:5) The Assyrian bullies listened to Jonah and did a complete 360 degree turn around! However, their redemption story started in the belly of a whale. It was birthed in the moment of Jonah sitting in the stench and darkness when he finally yielded to the will of God. ‘Having learned his lesson, Jonah yielded to the Eternal’s command and headed on the road to Nineveh.’ (Jonah 3:3)
We can go to all the Christian conferences and buy all the Christian books we need to seek out our purpose and calling. Those things are great and will bring clarity and definition to what God is asking you to do. But there comes a moment when God asks us to change our attitude about something which makes us run in the other direction. God will let us get swallowed up by many whales until we ‘yield’ to his will and become part of HIS story, not our story.
Charles Swindoll talks about how having the right attitude is really important. He says, “The longer I live, the more I realise the impact of attitude on life. Attitude to me, is more important than facts. It is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than failures, than successes, than what other people think or say or do. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill. It will make or break a company, a church, or a home. The remarkable thing is that we have a choice every day regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past. Nor can we change the fact that people will act in a certain way. We also cannot change the inevitable. The only thing that we can do is play on the one string we have, and that is our attitude.”
Come on, it’s time to get out of the whale and be all God called you to be!