Jonah 1:1-17; 3:1-10 [4:1-11]
Here we find another middle of the faith journey story. Jonah is a person of faith, who both believes certain things about God – that God is slow to anger and abiding in steadfast love – and is called by God to be God’s messenger. So he gets sent to Nineveh, into the middle of ‘them,’ into the heart of ‘the enemy,’ to carry God’s word.
And he doesn’t want to go. He’d rather run away to exile, he’d rather die, than have ‘those people’ repent, believe, and worship God. Jonah’s faith is big enough to have a God who is good to him, but not a God who is good to ‘them.’ Jonah is in the middle of a faith journey, where the promises of God can save him, restore him, claim him, wash him, but not anyone he doesn’t like.
You may recognize yourself in this description of Jonah. You may recognize someone else. As we see Jonah in the middle of his journey, where God won’t let him stay in his safe place, but sends him to the land of his enemies to see the grace and forgiveness of God enacted, listen to God saying, “Are you surprised I care about these people, these animals, this city?”