I spent the last couple of weeks studying the story of Jonah. There are so many great lessons in that book: 1) God loves all people; 2) God can work through hard-headed individuals; 3) You can’t run from God, etc., etc. etc, but my favorite lesson is “Do I have your attention yet.” I love this particular application because it is so relevant to my own life. I am hard-headed, stubborn, and at times very slow to learn the most important lessons of life. I have a healthy self-esteem (some might call it arrogance) and I tend to think I am right in most cases. These may sound like great qualities if you are a business executive, but they don’t work very well when you are wrestling with God.
There have been a few occasions in my life when things got so out of control that I stopped and said, “OK Lord, you have my attention.” Isn’t that pitiful. Our families have to implode, our finances collapse, our careers get derailed before we stop and ask God for a little direction. The sad thing is that most of us are more like Jonah than we realize. There he was sitting in the belly of some creature from the deep seas when his attitude changed. All of a sudden he was thankful he didn’t die in the sea and willing to do whatever God had planned for him. Adversity seems to have that affect on people. Trouble is, it doesn’t last very long.
How many times in life have you negotiated with God and then come up short on your part of the bargain. “Lord, just get me through this current crisis and I will be a different man. I will go to church, I will teach class, I will set a better example for my kids…” And like a loving father God walks us through our crisis only to have a few days, weeks or months pass by before we recant on our commitment and the cycle starts all over.
There are days I feel like Jonah sitting on that hillside east of Ninevah. There are a few moments of respite, but then as a reminder God sends the scorching wind and blistering heat as a wake up call. Do I have your attention yet? Yes Lord, I’m listening!