The Lord gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: "Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgment against it because I have seen how wicked its people are." But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. . . .
- Jonah 1:1-3
Do you know someone whom you would rather not see become a Christian because, frankly, you don't like him or her very well? You might not verbalize it, but maybe you think that way.
Such was the case with Jonah, who was called to take the gospel to his enemies in Nineveh. Jonah didn't want to do it, because he knew the nature of God. When God told him to go to Nineveh and preach, Jonah basically thought, Wait a second! That means God is going to judge them. And if I don't preach to them, they won't repent. And if they don't repent, God will judge them and wipe them off the face of the earth. And that is one less enemy Israel will have to worry about.
You probably know the rest of the story. Jonah boarded a boat that was sailing in the opposite direction. However, God managed to persuade the wayward prophet to come around. Jonah was swallowed by a large fish, was vomited on the shore of Nineveh, and reluctantly went on with his responsibility of telling the people of Nineveh that in 40 days, their city would be overthrown. Jonah didn't even offer them forgiveness. Even so, God spared this great city.
I am reminded of Louis Zamperini, whose story was told in the bestselling book, Unbroken. During World War II, he ended up in a Japanese concentration camp, where he was tortured and beaten within an inch of his life. But after his conversion to Christ, what did he do? He went back to Japan, not to hunt down his former captors, but to bring the gospel to them. He found some of the guards from that concentration camp, and he shared Christ with them.
Where – and to whom – is God sending you today?