“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it; for their wickedness has come up before Me.’ But Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Jonah 1:1-3a
What terrifies you the most? Death, suffering, failure, loneliness? As scary as any one of those is by itself, Jonah was willing to experience all of them before he was willing to be used by God to extend grace to his enemy. God had a simple message He wanted to tell the great and wicked city of Nineveh, and he wanted Jonah to deliver it. But once Jonah received the message, rather than obeying God, he responded by attempting to run away from Him.
You might assume the reason Jonah ran away was because he was terrified of warning the powerful city of Nineveh that their wickedness would be judged by God, but later in the book of Jonah we find out the true reason. More than anything, Jonah was terrified by the possibility of God extending grace to Nineveh rather than demolishing it.
Sometimes the grace of God is so beyond our understanding it scares us. We think it must be too good to be true. We feel there’s no way He could really love us that much, there’s no way He could use us, and there’s certainly no way He could love those people we can’t stand. But the grace and love God extends to all people will always far surpass the grace and love we extend to people. Therefore His grace and love will always confound us, if not terrify us. Rather than run from Him because we can’t understand Him, it would be best to simply submit to Him and allow His grace and love to wash over us and those God wants to reach through us.
Join us Sunday morning as we begin the beloved story of Jonah with a message titled “God’s Terrifying Grace”. God bless you all and hope to see you there!