Accepting God’s call when you don’t want to
He prayed to the LORD, “O LORD, is this not what I said while I was still in my own country? This is why I fled at first toward Tarshish. I knew that you are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger, abounding in kindness, repenting of punishment.
Ok. What is it you would do if God called you to go and speak to a group you did not like? For most Americans, and probably most others in the world, finding such a group is not hard. We find it more and more challenging to even talk politely to those with whom we disagree, let alone want to wish them good. What would you do if God gave you this call?
Such is the case for Jonah. He does not want God to be merciful to anyone but the Ninevites. He wants God simply to condemn them and cause them to die. He is told to go east, and he goes as far west as he can. For his disobedience in traveling west, Jonah is thrown overboard.
But God rescues Jonah and sends him to the Ninevites again. Much to Jonah’s dismay, the Ninevites, from king to peasant, convert. Just what Jonah did not want to happen.
In an age where we are polarized, divided, angry, can we set aside our differences to at least get to a point where it is that we can talk to each other? Can we accept God’s call to go forth and share our faith? And can we share our faith in a way that makes it most likely that all can see God’s grace?
During the season of Lent, the call of God is one of conversion. How is it we can answer this call? The Church suggests prayer, fasting and almsgiving as strategies for conversion. These three pillars of Lent can help us to see more clearly the action of God in our lives, helping us to love Him more, and the need to love our neighbors more, even if our neighbor is someone we just do not like.
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