“Pray that the Lord your God will tell us where we should go and what we should do.” Jeremiah 42:3 (NIV)
“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 1:1-3 (NKJV)
The book of Jonah is one of my favorites in the Bible. The Lord used this book to help me stay on track during my recovery from brain surgery. My spiritual race was wearing me out, and I wanted to move back home to Oregon. God however had other plans for me, all of which were waiting for me in Colorado.
As I recovered in an assisted living facility in Arizona, I decided to lay out a fleece and pray. I asked the Lord for His permission to move back to Oregon. If my house had not sold by the New Year, I would have His blessing to return to my adopted state. On the day I made this petition, I received an offer on my house. I had no doubt that God had answered my prayer and closed the door that would have led me back to my old and comfortable life.
Instead, I was thrown into an unknown wilderness. He told me to GO and so I did. I knew of Jonah’s disobedience and the consequences he had suffered. He ended up right back where he started and I did not want to waste any time. If I moved to Oregon, I knew I would eventually end up in Colorado. There was no doubt in my heart He wanted me to make a fresh start in a new land.
When God tells us to GO, we must go. We must keep a loose grip on the things we love and the homes we live. If we are able to maintain a loose grip on the things we hold dear, it won’t hurt as much if we loose them. Lost, but replaced new and better blessings.
Are you sold out for Christ? Are you ready to lay down your whole life for His will and purpose? If so, you must be prepared to hand over all you love and desire. Thankfully, if your will is aligned with the heart of God, your desires are already His desires. Taking hold of His hand and allowing Him to lead you down unknown paths will seem effortless, thanks to your childlike faith.
If God said, “GO, share My Word with that man,” would you GO? (Even if he were a stranger?) If God said, “GO, sell your house and move to Africa. I want you to become a missionary.” Would you go? I hope so, but only if there was confirmation in the Word, and a conviction in your heart. We are to do the Lord’s bidding, but only when we are certain HE is the one commanding us to GO.
What if you are in the middle of a hardship or trial? Do you get a free pass? Nope! If you are certain God is telling you to GO, the Holy Spirit will continue to nudge you. Maybe God wants you to speak to a doctor or nurse caring for your loved one. Maybe you heard a message at church that really encouraged and comforted you. If the Holy Spirit tells you to thank your Pastor, please do it. He probably needs the validation and encouragement.
Prayer allows us to hear the will of God. Our life is His to use for His purpose and glory. When He decides the time is right, He will ask you to obediently GO where you are needed. Until then, grow where He has planted you.
Don’t be like Jonah and run from His commands. That is not the “GO” I am encouraging. If you don’t understand His purpose and reasons, faith must carry you along. If He prompts you to speak to a stranger, or an “enemy,” trust that He will give you the words and actions required. He may use your pain and circumstance to comfort and encourage another going through a similar trial.
Jonah did not want God to give his enemies an opportunity to repent. However, we are called to do HIS bidding, even if we don’t agree with it. After all, hasn’t He shown all of us boundless grace and mercy? Should we not extend the same measure of grace to all men? Dear One, GO and do the will of God.
“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.” Jonah 3:1-3 (NKJV)
The Book of Esther is another great story about when to GO and when to wait. For Esther, God’s command to GO meant risking her life and going before the king so that her people might be saved from death.