Then the Lord spoke to Jonah again and said, “Go to that big city Nineveh, and say what I tell you.”
“I can do it.”
This is one of my three-year-old daughter’s favorite phrases. And she’s right about a few things—she can now put on her shoes, she can reach the sink to wash her hands, she can even swing on the big swing at the park.
But there are still things that require my help, and there are things that I’m hesitant to let her try on her own. So, I swoop in to help or take over.
Though she needs me for everyday tasks, I don’t need her help with most things. I don’t need her help in the kitchen cooking dinner, and I don’t need her to carry the lightest grocery bag in from the car. I let her do these things because she loves to help, and she loves the interaction with me. And I love it, too. But I could get these things done on my own. And honestly, it would probably be more efficient if I just did them myself.
It reminds me of our relationship with the all-powerful God. He doesn’t need us to do His work here on earth. He could snap His fingers and take care of every single task He’s planned for our entire lives.
But what would that mean for me? What if He swooped in and took over at every step? It would mean I would have no time to interact with the Father, as I take wobbly steps forward into new challenges. It would mean no lifelong lessons, as I fail on my own and learn to rely on His support and guidance. It would mean no sanctification, as I find myself boldly saying, “I can do it,” then humbly returning to His throne to say, “I can’t without You.”
This truth sticks out to me in the story of Jonah. God didn’t need Jonah to go to Nineveh. He could’ve sent the message Himself. He could’ve chosen a more willing servant. But He kept pursuing Jonah. He ran after Jonah as Jonah ran away from Him—to the point that He sent a giant fish to swallow Jonah to finally get his attention.
But why? Because He wanted Jonah to trust and obey. God wanted Jonah to see His faithfulness, His persistence, His love. He used Jonah as a messenger to the Ninevites, but the interaction also sent a message to Jonah. And while Jonah wasn’t the perfectly sanctified believer by the end of the book, God kept pursuing him, just like He keeps pursing us. God keeps inviting us into His plan to interact with Him and get to know Him, even when we pridefully push back.
As I invite my daughter to help pour the Cheerios this morning, I’m reminded that God invites us into His plan because He wants to, not because He needs to. He doesn’t invite me out of necessity, but because He wants to love me, to teach me, to interact with me as I walk alongside Him. I pray I can approach the throne with a childlike faith, a faith full of humility, dependance, and gratitude for the ever-present hand of my Father.
Thank you, Lord, for wanting me in your plan.
By Kellyn Amodeo, Bible League International staff, Illinois, U.S.