Jonah 3:1-5, 10 (NRSV)
Chapter 3The word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time, saying, Verse 2"Get up, go to Nineveh, that great city, and proclaim to it the message that I tell you." Verse 3So Jonah set out and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly large city, a three days' walk across. Verse 4Jonah began to go into the city, going a day's walk. And he cried out, "Forty days more, and Nineveh shall be overthrown!"
Verse 5And the people of Nineveh believed God; they proclaimed a fast, and everyone, great and small, put on sackcloth. Verse 10When God saw what they did, how they turned from their evil ways, God changed his mind about the calamity that he had said he would bring upon them; and he did not do it.
Somewhere along the way of being swallowed by the fish and then grousing about his fears that his enemies might actually repent and turn to God, Jonah finally responds to God’s call and tells the people of Nineveh to repent. We thought he might not get around to it.
In the same way, in my congregation’s youth group, a talented young man volunteered to write and star in a play about Jonah. Moody during rehearsals, he couldn’t memorize his lines. We thought we’d have to cancel the play. Yet a half an hour before the performance, he arrived prepared and ready. As his pastor I understood that he was struggling with his post-high-school future, “being Jonah” while playing the part of Jonah. When God calls, the best of us can find ourselves resisting what God is asking us to do. Still, God has given each of us the ability to show up “prepared and ready” for God’s calling.
God, you know when I’m resisting you and why. You also know how you’ve prepared me to serve you. Call upon me again, and I’ll give it my best. Amen.