One of the things that must happen for Christian salvation to take place is Surrender. It is the realization that doing things your way, for your personal outcomes is not working and that you need the guidance of God and the Love of Jesus Christ to shift and change your life and your nature. Salvation seems like an unsolvable math equation until you experience it and live it.
But what happens when a Christian wants to debate God's Will with God? What happens when a Christian wants to walk in stubbornness? This is what the older generation would call a 'stubborn will', a place of not fully complete surrender. It can be a hard road because it puts the individual in a place of negotiation with God and even explaining to God why thing need to be done differently. It is the ultimate in arrogance. So how can arrogance truly serve God?
What has been on my mind for a few weeks now is the journey of Jonah. Everything that Jonah went through before and after his doing what God has assigned him to due is shadowed by his attitude. You would think that after all he went through over his assignment that his attitude would be one of surrender, but it seems that he had to keep dealing with the consequences of his stubbornness. But was it worth it? Isnt that always the question of watching someone walk in disobedience? Isnt that always the question that you want to ask someone who is determined to do things their way instead of walking in obedience to God's Will?
It is as if there is a doubt of God's ability. How else could you not fully trust what God is wanting to ask of you? How could you expect to come out with less by doing things God's way than trusting God's Plan?
So Jonah is stubborn to the point that everyone on the ship with him has to deal with the storm, until he is thrown off the ship. Can you imagine the emotional distress of the others on the ship? Can you imagine how disheartening it is to watch a person face the waves and the sea, and pending death? Is arguing with God worth it?
God in his mercy, and in intent that what was assigned to Jonah was in fact his assignment, not to be given to another lets Jonah live. Let's face it, God could have allowed Jonah to die in the sea and raise up another to fulfill the prophetic assignment, so why does God allow Jonah to live?
In saving Jonah's life, God puts him in a horrible situation - the stomach of a whale. Can you imagine the smell, the taste, the environmental hazards, etc? The toxic feel of stomach acid meant to digest food on his skin had to be horrible. But this was the place that his stubbornness got him to experience. He was alive, but surrounded by toxic filth. All at the price if disobedience and stubbornness.
Can you imagine being regurgitated by a whale? That has to be a hard life experience. But Jonah's attitude is still not completely right about his assignment. By this point, he is starting to have a better understanding of the seriousness that God has towards Jonah being obedient. And even in Jonah doing what was such a simple assignment, he still wants to have an attitude about the whole matter.
So then we see Jonah go into a mode a pouting about not being able to do things his own way. Still stubbornness, but from a different angle, but with the same argumentative spirit. The journey towards Christian obedience is one that each individual must take alone. Even though other Christians are on the journey with you, and it is important to be a part of a community of faith, the journey towards the blessings or correction of God is individual.
Jonah was set up to receive a prophets reward. He is still know as being a prophet of God, but his disobedient attitude and the outcomes of that are what he is most remember for. What more could Jonah's future had been besides sitting with his attitude, angry at God, not concerned about the souls of the people that he could have reached in Nineveh and possibly beyond if he had only developed the right attitude for ministry and let go of his stubborn will.
It is hard to watch those who want to wrestle with God's Will waste precious time in toxic disobedience that could be spent going further into the BLESSINGS of God's Will. Jonah did deliver the message to the city of Nineveh, but where does his life journey go after that? To take a spectator's seat to watch with attitude to see what will happen is not the ideal alternative to walking in one's calling to do great ministry where you have been assigned. It is to settle for a lot of land, when God is offering an empire.