Jonah felt like he was out-of-place from the beginning of his memory, the black sheep of the family. He grew up in a family of three boys; he was in the middle. As sometimes happens, his older brother was a diligent hard-working leader type and baby brother was a comedian who kept everyone entertained with his jokes and keen wit. Jonah was just in the middle with no particular skills, wit or drive to make him a stand-out, he was just Jonah, or so he thought.
Life has a way of going on and on, even when you want to say, “Stop the world, I want to get off.” Jonah often felt like that recently, in fact he used alcohol to get some relief from the sense of worthlessness that he felt, even if it was only temporary relief.
I have seen low self-esteem, pride and rebellion reflected in many lives. This seems to be more often the case in men than in women, and usually is because a person feels that they don’t fit in, or they feel worthless, or they feel that they are different. I believe, this is the case with Jonah.
From the first days of his life Jonah was sweet-tempered with an easy smile. He loved hugs and gave them freely. He loved to play outside with his older brother and the neighbor boys.
He found his world an interesting place as a little boy, a bug or some other thing would fascinate him; he would run in the house to his mother and ask her to, “Come and see what I found.”
When Jonah was five years old he prayed with his mother, asking Jesus to come into his heart. The next day he told her that Jesus said that he would be a pastor when he grew up. He denied this in later years, even telling his mother it was her idea.
As he grew, his interest in the world around him, and especially other people, also grew. At school he had a hard time focusing on doing school work because of this. He often day-dreamed and did not respond to any correction the teachers tried. He often asked his mother if they could pray for children in his class or their parents. God would answer those prayers.
School work was easy for Jonah, but he was not interested in school, most of the time he would follow his flights of fancy, neglecting his homework. He still got decent grades, without really trying, yet he had the ability to be a straight A student.
When he graduated from high school, his parents wanted him to go to college, but he did not want to, choosing instead to get a job. This lasted for about a year and at that point he decided he wanted to have a profession, so he applied to a tech school to learn carpentry.
It was at the school that he met his future wife. She was learning to be an ultra-sound technician. Her background was dissimilar in many ways to his, but as often happens, “opposites attract”. The relationship was rocky from the start, but they seemed to be drawn together and it was not long before they were “in love” and wanting to be married. She became pregnant shortly after that decision.
Mary got her degree from the tech school, but with a wife and a child on the way, Jonah could not continue. He had to find a job.
At that time, finding a job was a challenge for someone without a college degree, and the only thing available was manual labor. Another challenge for Jonah was finding a job in the small town they lived in.
Up to this time, Jonah did not give God much thought, but when times get hard and your back is up against the wall, you have little else to turn to and alcohol was only a temporary fix.
Jonah prayed and God provided a job.
The baby was born in the heat of summer. He was a beautiful boy, so sweet. He looked a lot like his mother, but with his dad’s disposition. they named him Jesse.
For a time all seemed to go well, but time marches on and stuff happens. There were four more children born, a different house purchased to accommodate the growing family. The company Jonah was working for went out of business and a new job was begun.
At this point in Jonah’s life, he was addicted to cigarettes and alcohol to an increasing degree. His marriage was shaky and he began to have health problems. Jonah believed the lie that he was somehow less-than and in his pride, he would not admit that he was wrong and that he had made some bad life choices.
Some people have to hit rock bottom before they realize that the life they have chosen has left them bankrupt and they have no one to blame but themselves. The Lord God, designed us for a relationship with Himself, and He said: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”, yet we serve many gods, not the least of which is our own self.
I wish I could tell you the end of Jonah’s story, but the jury is out. The day will come when Jonah must make a decision, we all get there. Jonah is called by God to be an under-shepherd, a high and precious calling, one which many have answered and been blessed. Jonah has run from the call as hard and fast as he could. Sinning and loving the sin he is in. Yet miserable in the middle of it all, because God never takes back the call.
People often think that they have time to choose to live for God, but sometimes time runs out before they can make that choice. Others just don’t make a decision and no decision is a decision…it is, No!
Joshua told Israel as they were preparing to enter into the land that God had promised Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, “Choose this day whom you will serve, as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.” It is a choice.
What about you friend, are you prepared to enter into eternity? That is the promised land for every person who has chosen to receive Jesus as the promised Messiah, the lamb of God. His blood, through His blood, is the only entrance into Heaven, and mental assent will not get you there…you must be born-again, born of the Spirit of God as Jesus said.
I write because I care, because I trust that someone needs to hear, to read, to see, and maybe that someone will turn around and leave their sinful life behind and run to the Lord, maybe that someone is you?