Most of us are familiar with the story of Jonah. God sent him with specific instructions to Nineveh. Jonah was afraid and instead tried to run away. He ended up spending 3 days in a giant fish’s belly pleading to God for help before being regurgitated on shore and ultimately going to Nineveh to do what God asked of him in the first place.
I have come to call this “The whale option”. I use it to describe the numerous decisions I have made in my life that chose my path over God’s path for me.
Some of the decisions big, others smaller. All carried consequences, some small, others bigger. But then comes a consequence so enormous that it brings you to your knees. It is beyond anything you have ever dealt with, beyond your capacity to handle it on your own, it is overwhelming and feels all-consuming, and you finally surrender.
You finally realise that your way is not better and quite frankly you’re tired, tired of facing the whale options.
You ask yourself “Why did/do I keep choosing the whale option?” And the answers flash through your mind and you wince:
I don’t trust God with my life.
I’m afraid that God’s way will be hard or hurt.
My choice feels good and right in the moment.
Surely if it makes me so happy, God is OK with it.
To which you finally and desperately pray “Your Will be done Lord, not mine.”
In the story of Jonah, God had a plan and even though Jonah chose the whale option, God’s plan was still realised. I take enormous comfort from this. That even though I have chosen the whale option time and again, God is sovereign (Acts 4:24-28), His ways are higher and my choices can’t derail His plans for me. This doesn’t mean that I want to keep choosing my way over God’s because as I have witnessed, and felt, my way leads to wasted time, wasted talent, sometimes conflict but almost all the time, debilitating heartache.
God knew before I existed that I would make the choices I have made. Yet He still gave up His son for me (Romans 8:32-33), still chose me to be His daughter (John 1:12-13) and still promised never to leave me nor forsake me (Hebrews 13:5) and that nothing can separate His love from me (Romans 8:38-39). Talk about grace - that undeserved, loving forgiveness that my life is a living testimony to. Surely one’s response to this divine, unconditional love, is a life surrendered to the God of Love, to the Creator, the Alpha and Omega, the omniscient, omnipotent God above all gods?
Yes. So here’s to fewer and fewer, and ultimately no more whale options, as I learn to hear God, obey Him and trust Him to direct my steps through this life.