I never run but I can outrun Jonah any day of the week!
My family and friends must have looked twice at the title of this post; I don’t run, ever.
In fact, if anyone was chasing after me, I would probably surrender right away ( and suffer my fate with dignity) than attempt to run and still end up caught (without any dignity as I would be gasping for air).
In light of these revelations, about my sub-par physical fitness level, out-running Jonah seems like a boastful statement that is as truthful as any April Fool’s day joke.
But, it is true.
I run faster than Jonah.
Flash-back to the Old Testament
Jonah was an Old Testament prophet who was called by God to preach repentance to the people of Nineveh. The idea of this mission was so frightening to Jonah that he decided to travel in the opposite direction.
He boarded a ship that almost capsized, was thrown overboard as a result of losing the lot-casting session and was subsequently swallowed by a whale in whose belly he spent 3 days and 3 nights praying to the same God he thought he could out-maneuver.
You can read the unabridged story here.
By the grace of God, I grew up in the church. Jonah was a regular feature in my Sunday School curriculum throughout the years.
As a youngster, the story was a bit frightening (capsizing ships and belly of the whale, oh my!) but still entertaining.
As I grew older, I started to identify with Jonah the prophet.
I could understand his fears at the task he was assigned; the same fear that paralyzes me when I try to invite my non-church-going friends to attend liturgy, just once.
The same fear that makes me tongue-tied when it is time to partake of any outreach missions, can you imagine a chatterbox getting tongue-tied?
But there is Hope!
There are so many voices that influence us, subconsciously. I can not proclaim to know which voices were influencing Jonah but I certainly know which ones influence me.
What I find comforting and reassuring about Jonah’s story is God’s persistence to redeem this unwilling Prophet; God could have sent any other prophet to Nineveh but he gave Jonah another chance, just like He gives me millions of chances.
Even if I continue to run faster than Jonah, I am reassured to know that God will continue to capsize my ship and to send me whales.
The Coptic Church celebrates Jonah’s fast this year on February 6,7,8; Blessed Jonah’s Fast!
Do you run, as well? Leave me a comment!
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