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I Know, But....

You ever get that feeling that, in the middle of stating your case, you are totally wrong?  But, for some silly (or just plain stupid) reason you continue to dig your heels in and state your case?  I can remember a few times where I could distinctly hear in the back of my head; 'Kari, chill out, it's not a big deal'

I heard a story Jonah recently. You know, he was stuck in the belly of a whale for three days, then the whale spat him out, etc. And if your like me you instantly have some vision of the Veggie Tales movie or some version of the story in a children's Bible. I instantly see a sign for the boat Jonah gets on and it says 'Not Nineveh.' It makes me laugh.

Anyway, I can relate to Jonah, cause sometimes I just want to run from what I know God is telling me. Either it's too hard or I'm too lazy, or a myriad of other reasons. But the thing that surprised me was the rest of the story.

Yep, that's right there's more. See, not only does Jonah try to avoid going to Nineveh, but he gets upset when God forgives the people and doesn't destroy them. Jonah 4 says that he went up on a hill to watch, then he gets hot and God makes shade for him with a plant. The next day God sends a worm to eat the root of the plant and it dies.  So, Jonah is hot again and tells God he'd be better off dead. He gets so upset and tells God that he knew he should've have never gone to Nineveh because he knew God would just forgive them anyway.

Here's the thing, the whole town repented! It's like Jonah forgets that he was in the belly of the whale and that he went through all of that and God still wants him to go to Nineveh. Somehow he misses his own redemption. He's so focused on what he wants he misses out on the beautiful thing that happens.

So, I wonder if in the back of Jonah's head he could hear God prompting him "Jonah, chill out! Can't you see the bigger picture?" But for the sake of pride, Jonah had to complain about the plant being gone and the people being saved and then concludes he's better off dead.
I don't know if that's what Jonah was thinking and I don't know what happened to Jonah after this story but it compels me. It compels me to think of the bigger picture.

See, recently I had to take a personality profile and man was it rough. All I could see were the negatives, the parts of me that I try so hard to hide or ignore.  Not only do I have flaws (and man are they ugly) but so does everyone else. But here's the important part: I also have some great strengths. Strengths that God desires to use to build His kingdom. Strengths that God gave me, along with the weaknesses. I struggled to understand why I can't be gifted in the way that I desire to be. And took a while to realize that God gifted me to be the way He desired me to be. PERIOD! Flaws and all.

The awesome part about believing that God is the one that blessed me with these weaknesses and strengths, is that God is in the job of redeeming things. Just like he did with Nineveh. They realized they were wrong, they repented and turned towards God and He welcomed them back!
So I need to do the same. I need to realize that despite my weaknesses, my strengths, my mistakes, my opinions and a myriad of other things God loves me. He really loves me. In fact, He really loves you. And that is the bigger picture.

"Your love never fails, never gives up, never runs out on me...and on and on and on and on it goes, yes it overwhelms and satisfies my soul. And I'll never, ever have to be afraid, cause this one thing remains!'.   Kristian Stanfill


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