“So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh according to the word of the Lord … and the people of Nineveh believed in God; and they called a fast…. When God saw their deeds, that they turned from their wicked way, then He relented concerning the calamity which He declared He would bring upon them.” (Jonah 3:3, 5, 10)
In chapter 1, Jonah ran from God and ended up in the belly of a fish. In chapter 2, he runs to God (in prayer) and the fish vomits him onto dry land and Jonah begins his second chance. God is always “the God of the second chance.” Now in chapter 3, Jonah runs with God and travels to the dreaded Nineveh. And a miracle happens.
Against all odds, the cruel, vicious, and feared Assyrians (Nineveh served as their capital city) turned to God. Who could imagine? Certainly not Jonah.
I doubt that he preached very enthusiastically. All we know is that he said, “In forty days, Nineveh will be overthrown.” (Jonah 3:4) It’s unlikely he climbed the highest rooftops and belted out the message. Far too dangerous. Yet, God empowered that simple word and drilled it into the hearts of those ancient warriors, and they turned to Him!
When we run with God, the unexpected becomes commonplace. When we obey His leading, declare His Word, and yield to His guidance, violence changes and lives get turned around.
Need a miracle? Can’t see your way forward? Scared to death by what you are facing? Run with God.
God’s Presence changes everything. It saves; it delivers; it transforms. When we respond to His Presence, invoke His Presence, and become Presence-bearers in our marriages, families, and communities, He makes a difference.
Everything gets overturned in the “with God life.” People stop worrying and discover new reserves of peace, joy, and hope. The “with God life” produces more patience and kindness. When we embrace the “with God life” we don’t have to seek His will; we simply prove it (Romans 12:2) because we live in it.
Perhaps the weakness of the Church today lies in the failure of the people of God to practice the Presence of God, and to run with God into culture. We’ve allowed fear to turn our heads and move our feet towards Tarshish. God receives no glory when we board ships and head the opposite direction. Will we serve as prophetic voices to our culture, despite its hostility and antipathy?
Perhaps today, Jonah 3 stands as an invitation to a “with God life” marked by the supernatural. Let’s keep our eyes open.