This time Jonah obeyed the Lord ’s command and went to Nineveh, a city so large that it took three days to see it all. On the day Jonah entered the city, he shouted to the crowds: “Forty days from now Nineveh will be destroyed!” The people of Nineveh believed God’s message, and from the greatest to the least, they declared a fast and put on burlap to show their sorrow.
It had been years since we had spoken or seen each other although we lived very close to one another. We met for dinner that night because she wanted legal advice, but the conversation quickly turned to another topic. I knew she was in turmoil on many levels and in need of God. As the conversation progressed I emphasized the need for her to find a spiritual body for support. I felt the prompting to invite her to my church, but I expected to be rejected as I had been on so many other occasions with other people. Regardless, I extended the invitation. Evidently God’s prompting had been for a reason as she not only accepted my invitation but would give her life to Christ during that first church visit. Even greater was the fact that I was blessed to be the one to walk her through that prayer.
I was reluctant to act on God’s prompting and extend that invitation because I assumed I would be rejected, and I did not want to endure that again. I had not expected to see any fruit other than my obedience at putting myself out there for him. Of course, God’s will always produces fruit when we follow it. For me, I got to reconnect with an old friend and now am able to call her my sister. For Jonah, his concern was that God would indeed perform an act of grace toward people he did not believe deserved it. He did not want his obedience to bring forth fruit, but it did. These people who were so evil quickly came to fear the Lord and respond to his judgment with repentance. It did not take long for Jonah to see the will of God at work when we follow it. Although not always instantly, we also will get to see God’s handiwork when we bow to his will.
If we profess to follow the Lord, then we must profess that his purposes are paramount in our list of priorities. Sometimes his will lines up with ours, and sometimes it does not. Sometimes we follow his direction willingly, and sometimes there are things which make us second-guess taking that step. The promise here is that following the will of God will produce the fruit He desires, whatever that might be. Let us take ourselves out of the equation and pursue just that. Let us focus on allowing God to work through us so that we can be a part of his great purposes. Father, give us even a portion of your desire to see your will fulfilled even when we doubt or disagree.