I recently preached a message called ‘The Church’ — essentially I spend most of my time as a pastor thinking on what church is, what I want it to be and what I want it to look like.
We’ve been asking the question, where to from here? There’s something in asking questions.
Questions lead to answers, answers lead to decisions, decisions lead to destiny!
Let’s consider again the plight of the foolish, the prodigal whose folly causes him to trade the safety of home to dine with the pigs.
The bibles tells us he attached himself to a foreigner and works for minimum wage in appalling conditions. I often think of Jonah in these circumstances, he chose the belly of a whale to avoid obedience. How many know that was never a sustainable hiding place?
Have you caught yourself asking questions lately? I wonder what they sound like? I think we need to urgently return to the conversations we have in the dark and pay attention to the questions we often pretend not to ask ourselves.
Make no mistake, it takes courage to do this, a level of fearlessness to bravely take on the reality no matter the risk.
The prodigal did it. But it wasn’t easy. To ask the hard questions you have to face truth and as the saying goes, the truth hurts. Reality can often feel like a punch in the face. But it can often be a swift kick to the head that knocks us back to reality.
It’s not easy to rise from the mud, to dust off and head back home. It requires a diet of humble pie, of stepping out of the shadow and into the light which exposes everything. It’s easy to stay where you are, hiding, but it cost so much more.
Asking the hard questions led our prodigal home, he started to walk towards destiny, the place where God’s best for our life lives.
How about Jonah? Even delayed obedience saw God’s plan fulfilled. The story of Jonah serves as the classic cautionary tale, when we run from God the seas get rough (Jonah 1:11). Prophet or not, you lose!
Like the prodigal Jonah comes to himself (that metaphoric kick to the head) and calls to the Lord in his distress, in the middle of his mess questions linger and folly reveals truth.
So where to from here Jonah?
His question led to answers, answers led to decisions, and his decisions led him to his destiny. Later we find him in Nineveh, preaching.