Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Larry Pray

Sunday, November 23

Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai, saying, “Go at once to Nineveh, that great city, and cry out against it, for their wickedness has come up before me.” But Jonah set out to flee to Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.
—Jonah 1:1-2

No matter what the language, but is its most powerful word. The word but at the end of a thousand-page novel has the capacity to change the entire story. So it is with the wonderful story of a man named Jonah.

God asked him to do something, but Jonah did something else.

Everything was going just fine on the way to Spain, but God sent a great wind that nearly sank the ship.

When the sailors drew lots to see who should be thrown overboard, Jonah “won” the drawing, but instead of drowning God sent a great fish to swallow him.

Jonah uses the language of lament in the belly of that great fish, but then he gives thanks to the God he had previously abandoned.

God was going to punish the Ninevites, but when they repented God relented.

Jonah should have been happy, but instead he became angry.

In the end, God appointed a bush to provide shade for Jonah but then God appointed a worm to attack the bush.

At the edge of despair, Jonah almost gives up, but God reminds him that his emotions of the moment are not the same as God's plan for the world.

If we were to meet for coffee one day, we could share the story of our lives as told by the word but.

We had hopes, but….

We were in despair, but….

We were concerned about death but …life had the final word.

Today, let us examine the twists and turns of our lives, and smile at the outcomes we might never have expected. And let us remember the lesson of that single word… that wherever we are in our journey, it can be changed, deepened, and even resurrected.

Lord, we fall away from you but you never fall away from us. For this we are grateful beyond measure. In your name we pray. Amen.