Read Jonah 1
My sister called me Jonah the other day. Not the most flattering of prophets to be compared to, but if the whale tale fits...
Jonah had already been in the Lord’s service for some time. We can assume God had previously called on him to do some outlandish things--he did that to all the prophets. (ie. Elijah's stint in the dessert, Jeremiah’s field purchase, Hosea’s marriage to a prostitute...) We can also assume Jonah hadn’t really kicked up too much of a fuss until this time. At least not a noteworthy fuss, until God said, “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
Without wasting any time arguing with the voice of the Lord, Jonah hopped in a boat...and headed the opposite direction.
I’d had a sense for awhile that the computer was taking up too much of my time. My son would say things like, “are you going to always be on the computer?” And I would brush him off and say, I’m just going to finish this one thing... and that would lead to another, etc. Much of my computer time is directed to worthwhile pursuits, but much of it is also directed to time wasters. It is so easy to waste time online!!
I ignored the sense though. It’s not that bad, I thought. I’ll get around to breaking the habit when I’m not so busy with other things. Around the same time, I began to notice I was running late to everything and I was seldom prepared for any event.
So I started praying, very specifically, that God would help me use my time better. As Ashley brought up in yesterday’s post, this was one of those things that was in my power to do. It seemed to hard to do though, so asked for help. I still felt that nudge to leave the computer alone, but, like Jonah, I didn’t stop to argue, I just logged onto Facebook.
“Then the Lord sent a great wind on the sea, and such a violent storm arose that the ship threatened to break up. All the sailors were afraid and each cried out to his own god. And they threw the cargo into the sea to lighten the ship.“
When the Internet quit connecting on our computer--the very afternoon I prayed for help using my time better-- I panicked. I have bills to pay! I need a phone number ! I don’t know if I can substitute applesauce for butter in banana bread! I called my husband, and he walked me through a handful of possible fixes, but nothing worked. And then it began to dawn on me.
My poor husband spent a fretful evening trying everything to bring it back. “I just don’t get it,” he said late into the evening, “nothing is working at all.”
“Pick me up and throw me into the sea,” [Jonah] replied, “and it will become calm. I know that it is my fault that this great storm has come upon you.”
“umm... I’ve kind of been praying for help managing my time...” I confessed sheepishly. My husband gave me a look that said, “why didn’t you tell me that four hours ago?” He said, “Well, then I’m not going to get it fixed, am I? I’m going to bed.”
“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm.”
Surely Jonah thought it was all over. There he was, bobbing in the open sea, knowing full well that he had brought on his own destruction.
“Now the Lord provided a huge fish to swallow Jonah.”
Just when he thought he’d escape God’s orders through death if nothing else, He got swallowed by a giant fish.
After I realized I had brought this on myself, I felt perfectly calm for the first time. I managed to cope 24 hours with no internet access. I made phone calls, used the phone book to find information. I even payed a bill with a check. I have decided to be obedient.
Like Jonah, who gladly went to Nineveh once he was regurgitated, I have chosen to embrace this inconvenience. Jonah let his bad attitude get the best of him in the end, but I’m going to learn from.
Thank you, I wrote in my journal the next morning, for your creative and mysterious ways of discipline.
As of now, it only works if my laptop is plugged in on the floor mostly under a desk in the farthest reaches of the house. It is incredibly inconvenient to get to, and it’s not at all tempting to spend too much time here. The computer guy was supposed to come fix it this morning, but had to make an emergency trip to California.
Apparently I need a little more time to get through my withdrawls before I’m ready to rejoin the real world online. I’m sure this nervous tick will go away in time.
I have a plan in place for what to do once everything is functioning normally, but for now, I’m happy jotting down my “list of things to look up if I ever get online today,” and I am so glad my God cares enough about me to send me to the belly of the whale on this one.
It seems like a little thing. a very little thing indeed, but Jesus said, “he who is faithful in little will be faithful in much.” I figure he’s getting me ready for much.