Jonah traveled to the city of his enemies. We miss that a lot in this little book. Where most prophets were awarded the option to stay at home and preach judgment to nations far away, God told Jonah to go to that nation, stand among its people, and preach there.
When we think about God’s calling we often think about the doing something that makes us happy, whole, and complete. We think about doing something we love. We think about things we want to do. We think it’s going to be the best place for us. For Jonah, God’s calling meant going to the place he wanted nothing to do with at all. It meant that he would have to spend time away from home, he would have to live his life in danger, he would have to walk days in a foreign land preaching judgment on their life and values. Following God was anything but pleasant.
Sometimes, following God is hard. We want the easy life, we want the prosperity gospel, we want him to give us the simplest things, and God doesn’t usually work that way. His greatest triumph didn’t come in a victorious conquering but in a humiliating and violent death on a cross. He warned his followers beforehand that following him might lead to the same.
We ask for God’s will and we often don’t know what we’re asking for. Would you be willing to follow? Would you go even if going meant sacrificing some of the things you loved? Would you follow?