The Summer of ‘YES!’

July-August 2015

The story of the reluctant prophet Jonah is one of my favorites in the Bible. God
instructs Jonah to go to Ninevah and declare God’s disapproval of that great city’s
conduct. Jonah doesn’t want to go, so he runs away. Instead of escaping, he gets a great
sea storm, is tossed overboard by the ship’s crew and spends three days in the guts of a
giant fish.

Finally, reluctantly, Jonah acquiesces. He goes to Ninevah and wanders its streets halfheartedly
pronouncing the city’s doom. The city repents, and God changes God’s mind.
And this ticks off Jonah. “That’s exactly what I thought you’d do,” he says in anger. “I
knew if I came here and did as you asked, you would have pity on these people and not
destroy them all. That’s the kind of God you are.”

I like this story because quite often, I am Jonah. How about you? Do you ever feel as if
some thought or feeling is nudging you, haunting you, tracking you down, tapping you
on the shoulder, not giving you a moment’s peace? Maybe it’s been going on for years;
maybe a few days. And your response is always, “No! Leave me alone!” But that feeling
never relents.

What if, instead of running away, you said, “Yes”? What’s the worst that could
happen? For Jonah, the “worst” was that thousands of lives were saved.
Let’s make this the Summer of “Yes!” While taking our long car trips, or sitting in the
yard at twilight, or lounging at the beach, or taking a break from that great summer book,
let’s take a moment to listen to that still, small voice – voice of the Holy Spirit. Let’s
consider what it would mean to say “Yes!” Whose life might be changed? What slice of
the world might be saved? How might you be changed?

— In Christ’s Peace, Pastor Gage

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