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  • Writer's pictureKerry Sue Teravskis


I cried out to the LORD in my great trouble, and He answered me.

Jonah 2:2 NLT

Jonah is a book so relatable as we can see ourselves in each chapter. Maybe not the same as Jonah, but an aspect of him we can point to and say, "Ah-ha. Yup. That's me."

Studying this book throughout the years, and rereading it on occasion, brings me to a place of reflection, repentance, and renewal. I have learned and thought much about this Jewish boy, Jonah.

Yes, he did acknowledge God, but no, he ran away and got caught - literally in a big fish.  I have a better understanding of this man and have come to realize that I have more Jonah in me that I want - rebellious, prideful, selfish, complainer, stubborn. 

All not great qualities.  I am quick to point a finger at him because he didn't want to go tell the Word of the Lord to His enemies (yes, they were indeed the arch enemies of Israel and Ninevites were cruel, cruel, cruel), and he ran away from God. 

But then I need to remember to point a finger at myself and my reluctance to extend grace to those who slight me, offend me, cut me off, say rude things, or ignore me. In being easily offended I am not too far from Jonah.

We are given the true definition of love in 1 Corinthians 13. Did Jonah walk in this? Do we?

It (love) is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is no easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 1 Corinthians 13:5 (NIV)

God did get Jonah's attention - it took Jonah 3 days (3 days, mind you) to pray.  What did he do for three days in that belly of the fish?  Count teeth?  He did acknowledge God's answering and God's nearness. His song as recorded in Jonah 2 is beautiful. And he did come to a very definite conclusion:

But I, with a song of thanksgiving, will sacrifice to You. What I have vowed I will make good. Salvation comes from the LORD. Jonah 2:9 NIV

It was after this declaration, Jonah was spit up onto dry land. I see God (not literally, but in my mind), grabbing Jonah by the scruff of his neck and dragging him to Nineveh - he was a reluctant prophet.  And yes, he did get there and yes he did preach God's Word and the people repented.  They did.  And that irritated Jonah to no end. 

He knew God was a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger and abounding in love (see Jonah 4:2). He knew this about his loving God and he was not willing to share Him.  In fact, he would rather have died than see Nineveh repent.  He sat up on a spot waiting for their ruin.  Chapter 4 has him in this spot, watching for their destruction - instead of anticipating their repentance and rejoicing with the Ninevites, Jonah was angry!

Jonah.  Jonah.  Jonah.


Or should I say....Kerry.  Kerry.  Kerry? 

How many of these events can I recount in my own life?  A lot.  How many times have I been a reluctant ambassador of Christ?  Too many times to count.  Do I withhold Good News from my enemies?  Do I snicker in my hand when they get their 'comeuppance'? 

Am I quick to acknowledge God in all areas of my life and obey Him?  Do I run in the opposite direction thinking I can outrun God?  Have I forgotten God's grace, mercy, love and goodness?  Why do I make this life all about  me and not about Him?  Why do I look at the book of Jonah and see Jonah when I should be looking and seeing God?


Can you relate?


Lord, You are so worthy of all. May You help me to not be a reluctant disciple of Christ, an ambassador of the Good News. May I share You with all I encounter. May I encourage each with love, compassion, mercy and grace - all Your attributes for all. May my focus be on You and not on self. AMEN

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