When God called his servant Jonah to go to Nineveh and cry against the great city, Jonah fled to Tarshish seeking to escape God’s instruction. Jonah recognized the voice of God, a voice he had surely heard in times past. Whether for fear of his own safety or disregard for the people of Nineveh, Jonah quickly made a plan of escape; a voyage by sea that would lead him away from the task God had laid before him.
Perhaps like Moses, Jonah also felt inadequate to serve his God in such an awesome calling. How could he speak to an entire nation of people foreign to his own? Despite Jonah’s apprehension, Nineveh was in trouble. Their wicked ways had come before the throne of God and His judgment would pass upon the people of Nineveh in a mere forty days.
I believe there are many “Jonah”s in church today. They confess obedience to Jesus and His words. They may even hear His voice. But when the call comes, they run. They may not depart to another country, like Jonah, but they run spiritually. They focus on other activities, they justify the work they are already involved in and attempt to ignore the leading of God’s Holy Spirit. They may be afraid, experience a feeling of inadequacy, or simply not care.
Through more than 30 years of ministry, God has led me to many nations—nations whose winter was upon them; children in and around Chernobyl who were dying of cancer from the high levels of radiation; Communist soldiers, who, believing they were ushering in an earthly “paradise,” were actually serving as enemies of the cross; families in China who were literally dying of starvation because of ravaging floods; and many others.
“Nineveh”s are all around us. Your Nineveh may be opposite your house, across town or even on the other side of the globe. The fields are ripe for harvest but winter will soon set in. We must act now. Are we willing to repent and pray the words of Jonah, “I will pay that that I have vowed”?
Satan does not want us to reach Nineveh. But God’s grace is sufficient. He has chosen the weak to confound the wise. His power is perfected in our own inabilities. He needs only a willing heart. A heart that will cry, “Here am I Lord, send me.”