Nineveh: Now or Never
“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah saying, “Arise and go to Nineveh . . .” Jonah 1:1-2
These words must have sat like a heavy metal weight in the back of Jonah’s mind as he considered God’s directive.
God: Go to Nineveh.
Jonah: You’re kidding, right?
Nineveh was a terrible little town that boasted an ominous reputation for physical and psychological terror inflicted on its enemies. And its primary target was the Israelites. So, God’s command was shocking. For Jonah, a victim, to extend mercy and friendship to people he didn’t want to befriend and go to a place he would never want to visit was unfathomable. Can you imagine how Jonah must have felt?
Of course you can.
Because more than likely you know exactly what it’s like for God to steer you in a direction that cuts against the grain of your plans and interests, too. You’ve sensed that pit in the bottom of your tummy when you’re starting to know for sure that God is calling you to “Nineveh”.
“Lord. . .
- . . .I’ll agree to help, but don’t make me speak in public.”
- . . .I’ll serve in any capacity, as long as it’s not with the homeless.”
- . . .I’ll agree to my husband’s call to serve in ministry – youth ministry maybe. I’m not cut out to be the pastor’s wife.”
- . . .I’ll follow you as long as I won’t still be single at thirty-five.”
Yup, we’ve all got a “Nineveh” of our own – a place He’s calls us to go to that is in a different direction than we’d hope to end up – like to those inner-city youth who live on the other side of town, to the jail population, to atheists on the Internet, to a certain foreign country with weather too frigid to suit our penchant for tropical climates. Or maybe it’s a call to establish relationship with people who think much differently than you do, who share very little of your background, who don’t run in your typical church circles.
And sometime, “Nineveh” isn’t a place at all. It’s a particular person that He is asking you to extend forgiveness to and lend compassion toward. Like to that person who wounded you in a profound, life-altering way – the ex-spouse, the betraying friend, the abusive parent. And the very thought of being gracious and empathetic toward them – like Jonah was going to have to be to those vicious Ninevites – sends you into an emotional tailspin. It feels like such a hopeless assignment, a pointless undertaking. You see nothing good that can come of this. Or maybe you do, but you don’t want the responsibility of doing what’s required to get there. As far as you’re concerned, the only thing that’s likely to happen is for you to get hurt, betrayed, and disappointed all over again. You really don’t want to go, and like Jonah, you could come up with a million reasons for hanging back or running away.
And yet “the word of the Lord” has come to you, just as it came to Jonah. Commanding you to be content in this season of your life or befriend that person or take on this task.
Plain and simple.
You know it beyond any reasonable doubt. His Spirit is pressing you forward in the direction of the very person, place, ambition or goal you never thought you’d ever want to go in.
It keeps popping up in Sunday sermons and Bible study groups. You keep coming across it on Christian radio, or even a “chance” story you hear on the news or in a movie. God keeps prodding your heart, reminding you again what He’s been asking you to do. You hear the divine whisper at the most random times during your day . . . like right now while you reading these words . . .
The only question left to consider is: Will you go? Not your own way but the way that leads to God’s assigned “Nineveh” for you? Will you forgo the chaotic confusion that accompanied Jonah’s fast break from God and choose instead to say “yes” right away?
Yes to Nineveh?
Yes . . . to Nineveh.
This is the answer that always yields a harvest of unexpected yet divinely inspired and strategically planned supernatural results every single time.
Miracles hinge on it.
Divine wonders depend on it.
Lost souls are waiting for it.
Fulfilling your own destiny requires it.
So, don’t waste anymore time.
Turn your never into a now and watch your Nineveh burst open with eternal possibilities.
[Finally] “ Jonah went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord. . .and the people of Nineveh believed in God. . .from the greatest to the least of them.” Jonah 3:3-5