God is faithful! When you earnestly and humbly ask Him for an answer, He will answer. It may not be in an audible voice at the very moment you ask, or even a whisper. The answer may come in small segments as you piece these segments together under the guidance of the Holy Spirit. When that last piece goes into place, suddenly, the answer arrives.
This is how it happened most recently for me. Did I just say most recently? It has taken three years for that last piece of the puzzle to be set in place. But the beautiful thing is…….it feels sudden.
If you have read through any of my Facebook or blog posts, you know that I have considered myself “stuck” in Jonah for quite some time. I just couldn’t get past the thought that I had left something undone. I have read the Book of Jonah, containing only four short chapters, 48 verses and about 1200 words (depending on the version) about 100 times. I honestly don’t think I’m exaggerating. I’ve read it in several different versions and translations. I’ve listened to it in audio versions and I have even hand written it in a journal. Still, I just couldn’t get a grasp on what God was wanting me to see or what He wanted me to do.
Legalism and pride told me it was my own disobedience that needed to be corrected. Friends and loved ones told me it was a book or Bible Study that needed to be written. So, again and again, I would sit down at my computer, with Bible in hand and just stare at them. Nothing. No insight, no direction, nothing.
In the meantime, the women’s small group I attend did the revised version of Priscilla’s Shirers Discerning the Voice of God and my puzzle pieces started lining up. She made a profound statement that caught my attention. In a discussion about hearing the voice of God and our desire in knowing His purpose for us, she warns us that if we aren’t careful with these good intentions, they can become idols over the most important thing, knowing God Himself.
A brief time later I read Mark Batterson’s book, Whisper. In it, he states that most of us read the Bible completely wrong! We read it like a history book (which it is). We do not read it to know God Himself.
So, I prayed, again. I honestly desired to be obedient. I wanted to know what God wanted me to see in Jonah. What am I missing? I asked Him to show me. I apologized for being so thick headed and I fervently asked Him “what am I supposed to do? I’m stuck, God. I’m stuck not only in Jonah, but it seems like I’m stuck in everything.”
Then, that final piece shows up in John Bevere’s book and Bible study, Killing Kryptonite. Without revealing the good parts of the book for those that haven’t read it, I will paraphrase. He describes a prayer that he prayed every day. It was a long prayer, full of godly desires and sincerity. He wanted to be used by God. He wanted wonderful things to happen through his ministry and so on. He wanted released from a bondage that haunted him. But the answers didn’t come. the release didn’t come. Until one day, after a time alone with fasting and prayer, God told Him. John was focusing on these good desires. What God wanted, was intimacy with John.
That’s what God wants with me as well. It’s not a blog or a Bible Study to be written. It’s not even a book. It’s Him. Although those things may come when my focus is right, God wanted me to see Him.
So, I read Jonah with new intentions. I looked for God, to learn about Him and to know Him. He is my prize. He is my answer.
The amazing thing about the Book of Jonah and any other book in the Bible for that matter, is that the things God reveals about Himself in one Book, are inexhaustible! There is no limit, so here are just a few from my good friend, Jonah.
- He speaks, and He speaks to people.
- His Word is active.
- He is sovereign, yet He chooses to use people to accomplish great tasks.
- He made the land and the seas and everything in them.
- He commands and calms storms.
- He limits.
- Fish obey Him.
- He disciplines.
- He protects.
- He saves.
- He is merciful.
- He is patient, even with wayward prophets.
- He desires that all come to repentance, even the wicked.
- He relents from destruction.
- He gives second chances.
- He gives life to the dead.
- He shows compassion.
- He is love.
- He provides.
- He protects.
- He teaches (sometimes by taking away).
- He challenges us to be the image of Him.
God wants an intimate relationship with you as well. Seek Him and you will find Him.
You will seek me and find me, when seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13 (ESV)
But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.
Matthew 6:33 (ESV)