18 Apr NOT the end of the story
Read Jonah 1:1-6
Thought for the Day: Even when I mess up, my story isn’t over!
Consider what it means to be a hero. Throughout the ages, audiences have been especially drawn to stories of ordinary men and women who find themselves in extraordinary circumstances before emerging triumphantly. From Star Wars to The Lord of the Rings, audiences love a good hero story. But let’s be honest, we find it pretty boring if a hero simply encounters a problem, figures it out perfectly right away, and lives happily ever after. We have two words for a story like that: boring and unrealistic. After all, we can’t relate to stories without real drama. Instead, good hero stories are filled with ups, downs, heartbreak, and redemption. And – the very best stories begin with the hero actually rejecting the adventure altogether.
At the beginning of The Book of Jonah, we meet an ordinary man with a pretty daunting task. God sets Jonah on a pretty unique adventure: go to the capital city (Nineveh) of the most violent civilization ever (the Assyrians) and tell them to stop being so evil. We can identify with Jonah because he doesn’t begin with uncommon courage or strength. Instead, he reacts like many of us would if faced with such a daunting task. Instead of embracing the challenge, Jonah immediately boards a boat in Israel and begins sailing to Spain.
Like Jonah, we are all called to face a simple truth: God is asking us to follow His path for our lives. We are drawn to stories of heroes and adventure because each of us has been given our own call. We will not face Darth Vader on the Death Star nor be asked to throw the ring of power to the fires of Mt. Doom. However, we will each face our own Nineveh! We all have moments in our faith journeys where we start by running away. At these times in our lives, let’s remember the first lesson of Jonah: when we start by running away, we are only at the beginning of the journey!
Pastors Stan and David