Occupy Till I Come

Have you ever felt like Jonah?

I have, so let me explain. Three and a half months into our nation’s craziness, I’m exhausted with all the doom and gloom. I’m angry with evil people wreaking havoc in our country, and I’ve lost respect for the news media. Do they even report truth anymore? Their political bias is so evident, and their stories seem designed to keep us bound in fear.

I’m drowning in mixed emotions.

While I can’t imagine the terror Jonah felt being thrown into the ocean and swallowed by a giant fish, I find his words speak to me spiritually. Jonah said, “…floods surrounded me…billows and…waves passed over me…waters surrounded me, even to my soul; the deep closed around me; weeds…wrapped around my head…I went down to the moorings of the mountains; the earth with its bars closed behind me forever…”[1]

After three days and nights of this horrendous ordeal, God caused the fish to spit Jonah out,[2] and he found himself on a sandy beach. The warm sun on his face, waves crashing, seagulls squawking, and the smell of salty air and fish filled his nostrils.

Then the voice of the Lord came to him a second time, saying, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you.” This time, Jonah went as commanded.[3]

But why did he run away in the first place? Was he afraid of the vicious and cruel Ninevites? Scripture indicates otherwise. Jonah was not scared; Jonah was angry. It was as though he knew once the Ninevites heard the true Word of God, they would repent. And they did. “But it displeased Jonah…and he became angry. So he prayed to the Lord, and said, ‘Ah, Lord, was not this what I said when I was still in my country? Therefore I fled…to Tarshish; for I know that You are a gracious and merciful God, slow to anger and abundant in lovingkindness, One who relents from doing harm.’” [4]

Jonah didn’t want the wicked Ninevites spared, and I could relate. Immediately, I felt the Holy Spirit’s conviction.

Exasperated with myself, I cried, “Father, I don’t know how to pray anymore. For months I’ve prayed for our country, its leaders, and against the evil rioting and destruction, yet it’s not better. Lord Jesus, I see Your coming closer than it’s ever been, and I know the end will be characterized by perilous times.[5] Because of this, have I also run away? Forgive me! I do desire for my thoughts, words, and deeds to reflect Your great love to a lost world.[6] But lately, I want to throw up my hands and say, ‘I’m done with these wicked people.’ I’m angry like Jonah. Oh, LORD, help me, please!”

God took me back to Jonah’s words. “I am,” He said. “You, like Jonah, know I’m gracious and merciful, slow to anger, and abundant in lovingkindness. I am the One who relents from doing harm. This is why I sent Jonah, and this is why I sent you. I have placed you where you are to occupy your territory and be about My business until I come.”[7]

“Lord,” I said, “my spirit is willing, but my flesh is weak.”[8]

“I know,” Jesus said, “but I am with you.[9] Expect tribulation because the whole world is under the sway of the evil one.[10] This is war.[11] And I have strategically placed My children, filled with My Spirit, in enemy territory to hold that area for Me and expand upon it as I give opportunity.[12] You have armor, a weapon, and power to use it.[13] Like Me, you are angry at sin and evil, yet I am not willing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance.[14] You are fighting for souls. So go, and stand strong in the power of My might.[15] I am coming soon.”[16]

[1] Jonah 2:3-6
[2] Jonah 2:10
[3] Jonah 3:1-3
[4] Jonah 3:10; Jonah 4:1-2
[5] Romans 13:11; II Timothy 3:1-5
[6] Psalm 19:14, Colossians 1:10, Ephesians 5:1-2
[7] Luke 19:13
[8] Mark 14:38
[9] Matthew 28:20; I Corinthians 16:24
[10] Matthew 16:33; I John 5:19
[11] II Corinthians 10:3-5; I Timothy 1:18
[12] John 6:44
[13] Ephesians 6:11-18
[14] II Peter 3:9
[15] Matthew 28:19; Acts 18:9-10; Isaiah 54:17; Ephesians 6:10
[16] Revelation 22:20


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