When God Speaks – Part II

For he and all who were with him were astonished at the catch of fish which they had taken; and so also were James and John, the sons of Zebedee, who were partners with Simon. And Jesus said to Simon, “Do not be afraid. From now on you will catch men.” So when they had brought their boats to land, they forsook all and followed Him. – Luke 5:9-11.

When we know what God wants with our lives, when He has spoken and we know it we have two choices. One choice is the way of Jonah. Jonah did not want to do what God wanted him to do. We know the story and we know that eventually Jonah did what God wanted him to do. Jonah preached his one sentence sermon to the wicked Ninevites, they repented, and just as Jonah feared, God spared their lives.

The other choice is the way of the Samuel. Samuel grew up serving in the Temple under the direction of the priest Eli. God called Samuel in an audible voice and Samuel thought at first that it was Eli calling him. Eli told Samuel to answer the Lord when He called. 1 Samuel 3:10-11 tells us what happened; “Now the LORD came and stood and called as at other times, ‘Samuel! Samuel!’ And Samuel answered, ‘Speak, for Your servant hears.’ Then the LORD said to Samuel….” Samuel obeyed and the result was that “Samuel grew, and the LORD was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground. And all Israel from Dan to Beersheba knew that Samuel had been established as a prophet of the LORD (1 Samuel 3:19-20).”

From these two examples, we can see something else that is very important. Which servant of God had the most peace, joy, and meaning in their life? It was not Jonah. Jonah was unhappy about every aspect of God’s call. Jonah had to go through what could only be described as hell before he decided to obey God. Spending a few days and nights in the belly of a great fish could probably make anyone change their mind. However, Jonah still was not happy about it and even after the Ninevites repented because of hearing his preaching it just made him mad and depressed.

God’s voice in these days may not be audible but it can be almost as easily heard. When I first heard God’s call, I responded only to soon afterwards turn away. I was miserable and depressed. I had no joy. I had no happiness. I had no peace. I had no meaning in my life. I knew that I had made the wrong choice and it took eleven long years before God gave me another chance.

Which is the easiest way? It certainly is not the way of Jonah. I have heard people talk about their fear of responding to God’s call. They speak of the fear that God will have them become a missionary to some far away country. However, when you speak to those who have become missionaries and spent their lives on the mission field you can sense that they have lived lives of fulfillment, lives of meaning and purpose.

Would it not be better to just skip the Jonah part and go straight for the response of Samuel? Leave the fear behind placing your life into the hand of God, the One who knows more about your life than you do. Place your life into His hand because He wants better for your life than you can possibly imagine. The next time God calls let us say with Samuel, “Speak, for Your servant hears.”

(When God speaks there are two choices. One choice is the way of Jonah and the other the way of Samuel.)

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