What happens when what God wants is different than what you want?
That's one way to summarize what's so difficult about this life, isn't it?
Life would be a lot easier if everything that God wanted was exactly everything that you wanted. If that involved pain and suffering, but God's aims for you in that suffering were exactly what you wanted for yourself—well, then even that suffering would be worth it! If only there was this perfect synchronization between our desires' heart and God's will for us, then everything would be so much easier.
Sadly, we all know that's not the case. We live in a world where God's will and our wills don't always line up. We are at odds with God, and it's not good to be at odds with God because God always wins.
This morning, we are in the first part of Jonah: the story of a prophet whose will came in conflict with God's will. As we consider Jonah, much of what we see in him will be very familiar to us.
This is undoubtedly one of the best-known stories in the Bible. It's one of my favorites: there are twists and turns and ironies and drama woven throughout, yet it's not just a fun story. No, it provides truths that are as relevant today as they were back then.
If you've heard this story before, you'll be familiar with many of its elements: a city on the brink of destruction, a prophet on the run, a supernatural storm, and a huge fish. In recent years, there are many who would claim to be Christians and would deny the historicity of this book. I don't have to time to go through all their objections, but basically it boils down to the a priori belief that if it's miraculous, then it must be unhistorical. Let me just point ...
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