The Jonah in Me

Jonah 1: 3, “But Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord…”

Recently and unexpectedly, I was asked to teach on the book of Jonah at our church. It had been three years since I last taught in another church that we attended and I missed teaching and longed for another opportunity to do so in our new church; but I perceived that no such possibility was available to me. Eventually, my desire to teach diminished to the point that I was satisfied in finding other opportunities for service– my confidence for teaching was non-existent. In fact, when I received the message asking me to teach, my initial reaction was uneasiness and incredulity about the entire prospect. My words to my husband were, “I just want to run from it!”

Immediately, the Holy Spirit prompted me to take a look at the book of Jonah before calling back with my decision. As I read Jonah 1:3, I inexplicably began to laugh. It was a strange reaction to me due to the fact that I was still distraught about how to politely refuse the invitation for service; yet I couldn’t help but picture myself in the shoes of Jonah– running as hard as I could away from the Lord. “Is this what I am doing, Lord? Is this how I look to you in this moment?”

It was quickly apparent in my spirit that my motivation for declining was due to fear of failure and avoidance of discomfort. Just as clear was the fact that God had orchestrated my return to teaching; I absolutely could not comprehend on what basis this leader could have approached me other than by the Holy Spirit. Finally, the overwhelming assurance about the offer to serve was the book itself– a timely word from the Lord to me to study and use as a mirror for insight and growth. My confidence had to be in God, not myself or my abilities– “For the Lord will be [my] confidence and will keep [my] foot from being caught.”