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Lenten Devotions from Fourth Presbyterian Church

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Today’s Scripture Reading | Jonah 3:1–5, 10

The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, “Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days’ walk across. Jonah began to go into the city, going a day’s walk. And he cried out, “Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!”

And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it. (NRSV)

Most of us know Jonah as the man who tried to run away from what God was asking him to do and consequently got swallowed by a whale. But this second part of Jonah’s story paints a different picture. Jonah may have run from God at first, but eventually he took a leap of faith and did something incredibly difficult. It can’t have been easy for Jonah to ride in as an outsider and proclaim Nineveh was going to be overthrown if they didn’t get right with God. At best he would have opened himself up to public ridicule, and at worst he could have been attacked for making such outrageous statements.

When I think about it that way, I’m impressed God only had to ask Jonah twice. I probably would have put up a bigger fight. In fact, I have put up bigger fights with God in response to much smaller asks. Over the past two years, I’ve been making a concerted effort to say yes to what God is calling me to do even when I don’t understand why God’s asking me or how it’s going to work out. And while sometimes it’s been far from easy and I haven’t said yes to everything I should have, it’s helped me grow in my faith.

What is God calling you to say “yes” to?

Father, you love us just as we are, but you also love us enough to keep challenging us to grow into the best versions of ourselves. Strengthen our faith, and give us the courage to say yes to what you’re calling us to do and who you’re calling us to be. Amen.

Written by Nicole Spirgen, Member of Fourth Presbyterian Church

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