[guestpost]Today’s Testimony Tuesday guest is Tyler Chastain. Be encouraged as he empathizes with Jonah.[/guestpost]
As a child I heard the story of a man who was given a commission to travel to a certain place. He did not respect this commission and as he traveled away from the place he was required to go, he became a bitter, lonely man. The commissioner was very displeased with his servant, but loved him dearly. So instead of firing him, he simply made the journey so difficult that the servant finally gave in. He was tired of life’s hardships and storms. As a broken and humble man, he returned to the commissioner and rededicated himself to fulfill his commission. As a reward for serving faithfully fulfilling his duty, the commissioner gave him an unparalleled gift in the harvest that was reaped in that place.
I personally love this story as it holds special significance to me. You see, this man was Jonah. Yes, Jonah and the whale Jonah. Reread my story, and it becomes quite clear to you. I always adored this story. Many know it through children’s stories and songs. I never imagined in a million years, that I would become like Jonah.
I too was given a commission, as we all are, to go forth and preach the gospel so that the world might be saved. And like Jonah, I ran from this commission. Afraid of the personal sacrifice, the pride I would have to abandon, the career goals and aspirations I set forth for myself at such a young age not being what God required of me. I suffered through many trials and storms before I found myself in a theoretical whale’s belly. I was on rock bottom with nowhere to go. I was tired of being a pew Christian. Tired of the highs and lows that life threw at me. High at youth camp and conferences, revivals, and youth rallies. Low every other time. I was tired of being content with church 2-3 times a week, the occasional shout, the occasional blessing. I was tired of hypocrisy.
I found myself broken and humbled before God seeking direction and God’s will in my life. I knew He wanted me to reach the lost. I was striving to accomplish that with His help. But what else did He want me to do? I found myself asking God, “Am I going to be a preacher? A teacher? A deacon? A toilet bowl scrubber? A missionary? What is it you want me to do, God?”
Well, I found my answer in two parts, and it took me 6 months to finally understand what it was.
First, God laid a burden on my heart for the souls around me and on my college campus. I was broken and tried to witness, to be an example, but I was failing miserably. One morning while reading the Word, I came across a familiar scripture, but one thing caught my attention. In the book of Acts, chapter 2 is the story of the early church being filled with the Holy Ghost and the Apostle Peter preaching and seeing 3,000 people saved that very day. However, this is not what caught my attention. Usually I would get excited and skim over the last few verses of the chapter so I could get to chapter three where Peter and John see the lame man healed and another 5,000 saved. But I actually read them with sincerity this time and verses 46-47 caught my attention. Particularly verse 47. “Praising God, and having favour with the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved.”
I asked God; how I could see people saved daily? how I could be used like the apostles?
He showed me in verse 46. They went to the church daily and prayed until they were all in one mind and one accord, just like on the day of Pentecost. And there was my answer. If I would pray daily until I was in one mind and accord with God, I could see the works and miracles like they did.
But God told me to go one step further. We have a chapel on campus and He wanted me to go there daily and pray. No problem right? Of course my pride didn’t care if it was in the middle of campus and people just walk in all the time and would hear me (sarcasm). There was no way. I mean praying in my room was easy but this…
Why God do you want me to do that? Well, it was almost the end of the semester, and I did it for a few days super early so no one would know. And then summer came. Yes! No more praying in the chapel. The next semester I never started back, and I found myself being like Jonah again. I stopped worrying about the souls and just wondered what it was that He wanted me to do. I found myself in the storms and trials once again, and began questioning why I had to go through them. I felt like God was nowhere to be found. No matter how hard I prayed. It was at this point where He put the pieces together and showed me the whole picture.
I was reading in Jeremiah 29 when a couple of verses stuck out to me. The Children of Israel had been captured by Babylon and God was speaking through Jeremiah to reveal to the Israelites why He allowed this. In verse 11, God tells them that He meant them no evil, but peace. He was trying to bring them back to Him.
After all, in Revelations we learn that He only chastises those that He loves. He also tells them in 11 that this storm in their life (captivity) will come to an end. In verse 12, He tells them that when we call upon the Lord and pray unto Him that He hearkens, or gives heed and attention to what is said. So therefore, we know that He always hears our prayers, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Verse 13 says that we will find Him when we seek after Him with all of our hearts. In layman’s terms, that means when we get desperate and make Him everything to us and all we have.
All in all, what this meant to me was that God was always there for me. He allowed me to go through the things I did because He wanted my full dedication and for me to do what He wanted me to. Just like Jonah. While praying, it was then that God spoke to my heart and told me that it was not for me to know His calling at this time, but that He had called me to reach the lost and see the world saved. Talk about shouting and putting joy back in your step. He loved me enough to do whatever it took to get me where I needed to be, so that He could do His will through me and in my life.
[shareable cite=”Tyler Chastain”]It was so simple. Yet, I had made it so difficult.[/shareable]
I was trying to figure out the big picture when He wanted me to look at my walk one step at a time.
So, if you are going through something that you don’t understand, ask God, if He is trying to get you back where He wants you? Or if He is trying to show you that He is always there and that He will provide Peace in The Storm?