Is there a Book or a specific chapter in the Bible that you truly relate to? For me, I relate closely to the Book of Jonah and have often given what I call my Jonah speech. Perhaps you’ve heard it. The “Readers Digest” version goes like this: God tells Jonah to go to a place called Nineveh and preach God’s message to the people living there. Jonah makes a bee line in the opposite direction, disregarding God’s will. The results, well things get rather uncomfortable for Jonah. The question becomes, why did Jonah not want to go to Nineveh? The answer, Jonah simply did not like “those people”. Jonah knew the things they did, the way they acted, the beliefs they held, and he wanted nothing to do with that.
Over the years, I’ve yet to find someone who doesn’t have their own personal Nineveh. We all have areas, periods in our lives that we would rather not resurrect. My personal Nineveh was a thirty year addiction to alcohol, and that’s exactly where God told me to go. God told me to go back to the very things I tried so hard to forget.
Five years ago I helped launch a Celebrate Recovery Group at another church, and the first of this year, I launched a CR Group at UUMC, but following the Jonah paradigm, I wasn’t, at first, willing to “go to Nineveh”. But unlike Jonah, I didn’t need to be thrown out of a boat, swallowed by a great fish, and spit-up on a beach, before I got the message. All it took was several sleepless nights. An Old Testament verse kept playing over and over in my mind. Isaiah 6:8, it says;“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I, Send me!” I couldn’t shake the feeling that God had a special mission for me. Both Jonah and I soon discovered that no man can run from God. “‘Can a man hide himself in secret places so that I cannot see him?’ declares the LORD.”’ (Jeremiah 23:24a)
Where has God directed you to go? Have you properly dealt with your Nineveh? Join me and others at Celebrate Recovery and we will face “our Nineveh” together. Jonah’s ill-advised attempt to escape from God was doomed to fail. He soon realized God was with him everywhere he went. Even in the stomach of the great fish, God knew where Jonah was and could hear his prayer (Jonah 2:2). I’ve witnesses some amazing changes at Celebrate Recovery So if you, or someone you know has a Hurt, a Habit, a Hang-up, Celebrate Recovery is the place to be.