To Tarshish! Jonah was called by God to go to Nineveh. God wanted Jonah to preach repentance to the stiff-necked people who lived there. Instead, Jonah fled in the opposite direction, away from Nineveh toward Tarshish — away from God. Often I arrive at an intersection and God clearly says: “Go left.” But, I knowingly go right. I want to think this is an unconscious process, that I am unaware of the full consequences of my actions. After all, Jonah could not have known all that would happen to him. How could he predict the swelling seas as he left the port of Joppa? How could he predict being swallowed by a fish? How could he predict that Nineveh would, when he finally made it there, listen to his message and repent en masse? Jonah can be forgiven for not knowing that. But did he really think he could flee from God? Do I? I may not know the full consequences of my every action, but do I not have some responsibility in at least being curious and asking a few questions?
God, do not send me to Nineveh. But when you do, may I have the courage to accept your instruction and go. Help me to do the right thing and always follow your word. And when your word is hard to hear, quiet my heart to listen more carefully. Amen.