Last year I had the opportunity to go see a production of “Jonah” at Sight and Sound Theatre in Branson. This had always been one of my favorite bible stories growing up, and with the brilliant life like sets and dramatic presentation I was not disappointed. Several months later, I was invited to go again with a group. We sat right down front and I was again excited to witness this great bible story that is such an example of God’s patience with man. Finally, just a few weeks ago, my husband and I took a group for the back stage tour. Let’s just say that while I love the story of Jonah, this was a bit of overkill.
I’ve come to realize that when something keeps popping up in my life, God is trying to tell me something. I began to think about how Jonah went to great lengths to avoid being the one that God used to save the people of Nineveh. Jonah didn’t believe they deserved to be saved. He thought he knew better than God what was right or fair. The emphasis, when we tell this story, is always on the fact that Jonah ran away from God. But I started to consider that Jonah was also running toward something…..that crazy big fish. We could even say that in a way, he was chasing the whale.
I figured out what God was trying to tell me by putting Jonah in front of me so often. I had to ask myself three questions:
Who do I think is too wicked for God to change?
What does God want me to do that I don’t want to do for others?
What has God done for others that makes me angry?
I was choosing to chase whales so I wouldn’t have to deal with my Nineveh. I’m still chasing a few.
Are you chasing whales with me? James 4:12 says, “There is only one Lawgiver and Judge, the one who is able to save and destroy. But you--who are you to judge your neighbor?”
I’m trying to take off my swim floaties. Will you?
Pam Calvin is the wife of Jim Calvin, Church Growth Director for SMD Council in Springfield, Mo. She is a High School Special Education teacher in the Springfield Public School District. Pam and Jim provide church worker training within the SMD District in the areas of Leadership, Church Teacher Training, Classroom Management, Creative Children’s Ministry, Outreach Ministry and Special Needs Ministry.