1 Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: 2 “Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you.”
3 Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh.
My eleven month old daughter has become quite skilled at shaking her head no, and by saying “quite skilled,” I’m talking about the emphatic side-to-side motion of shaking one’s head. Olivia will shake her head at just about anything - a new food, a favorite food, her bottle, getting into the car seat, getting out of the car seat, being picked up, being put down, having her diaper changed, going to bed – I’m sure you get the picture. And not only can she tell you no, but she practices it. If she hears someone say “no, no,” she immediately shakes her head from side to side.
Being an educator, I really thought that I would be “more prepared” for this stage of the game, but I’ll admit that nothing prepares you until you get baby food splattered on you for the second time, or your child goes stiff as you are trying to put her into the car seat. Combine this with the tears, the screams, the hands going a million miles an hour, and more than likely a mini audience – it can test the patience of any skilled mom that I know (Job included).
But saying no is a part of one’s sinful self. How quickly do we tell people, including our own family and children, “No – I’m busy and can’t help,” or “Sorry, but no I can’t…” The Bible is full of examples, and I’m sure that we don’t have to look very far (maybe even in a mirror) to find people skilled in the art of saying no. Jonah dared to tell God no, and he sat in the belly of a whale or big fish for three days (now that’s what I call a time out!) before he repented and was forgiven by God.
Our Heavenly Father is a wonderful parent to us, His children. Daily we tell him no, disobey and turn away. Yet, because of Jesus’ sacrifice in our place, God forgives and loves unconditionally. With this example before us, how much more then should we forgive our own children when they tell us no, or disobey, and work to disciple them as loving, Christian parents?
Dear Jesus, Thank you for your perfect obedience. It is because of your sacrifice on the cross that our relationship with our Heavenly Father has been restored. When our own children tell us no, help us lovingly forgive and show them your grace. Please continue to bless, strengthen and keep each of our families close to you. It’s in your name that I pray, Amen.