“Will you pray for us, Kristi? We’re hoping to get orders to Northwest,” my friends requested as we exited the small white church, the grey sidewalk guiding each of our steps to awaiting cars.
Northwest was a military base, an easy commute for their country lifestyle. It made sense.
We were both Navy families and had bonded almost instantly upon arrival at the church two years earlier. But it was now time for new orders. There was no guarantee we would be together much longer.
As each of their hands reached for car door handles, I replied, “I can’t do that.”
Eyes went wide, gaping mouths did too. Over their now-open car doors, they stared at me in bewilderment. Their prayer request had been silenced.
“I can’t pray that because I don’t know if it’s God’s will for you. What I will pray, though, is that God will guide you in His plan, and you’ll choose to walk in it.”
They didn’t appear completely convinced. A mumbled thanks surfaced in the silence as their eyes unlocked from mine, and they slid into their car. The clank of doors closing and an engine roaring to life filled the air. Their car’s tires crunched across the stone parking lot, their rubber exiting onto the country road.
It was the juncture of a new prayer journey. Their route had just changed.
Championing my friends toward God’s plan was easy. It was their lives.
But when it comes to my own life, it doesn’t always seem that easy. Maybe you’ve been there?
There’s sacrifice involved, laying down my plans for His. Because we all know they don’t always mesh. Just ask Jonah.
…”Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
But Jonah ran away from the LORD and headed for Tarshish… Jonah 1:2-3 NIV 1984
Uncertainty might come into view. Raise your hand if your flesh, like mine, wants a crystal-clear view of the road ahead.
Or maybe it’s certainty, a self-professed Jonah-esque confidence that seemingly knows…and doesn’t like…the outcome.
Anyone care to comment strong-willed?
Regardless of the cause, Jonah ran from the LORD. And it was a mess.
Running from the Lord, like a toddler with chocolate pudding, smears the clear complexion of faith. It’s dark and messy.
But to trust and run with God?
Oh my…. How we will run and impact the lives of others for God’s glory! And how we’ll be changed in the process.
Jonah, after he turned and headed to Nineveh impacted lives in more than a whale of a way.
…Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Jonah 3:8 NIV 1984
When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened. Jonah 3:10 NIV 1984
My friends could have championed Jonah in their situation. Northwest dangled and looked good. Oh, how easy to pray its way.
But my friends, in the midst of changing their prayer from “my” will to “Thy” will, found a treasure. They laid down their Jonah and rose with Jesus.
They found Sigonella. Miles away, an ocean and time zones apart, they found “home”. Their new duty station filled them and reciprocated others with new worship, new friends, and new life. It was good, and it was growth.
And Jonah? Lives were saved squarely in the middle of God’s will. Is there anything more to life?
All it took was a little trust.
(By the way, there’s the cutest little book on Jonah here. My kids loved this one when they were little!)
Where are you placing your trust today? Is it in “my” will or “Thy” will? Are you laying down your Jonah, rising with Jesus instead?
Lives very well might be changed.