Photo Credit: Carissa Rogers via Creative Commons


[dropcaps style= ‘square’]R[/dropcaps]ecently, I was at a meeting where my neighbor was a 2 year old little girl. We struck up a conversation like we were old friends. The conversation did lean toward being one sided, as her response to most of my questions was “no”, followed by a little giggle.


‘No’ is a word that most of us learn at an early age. As we become adults, we use the word ‘no’ to shield ourselves from busy schedules and too many commitments. ‘No’ is not a bad word when used correctly. It can actually help bring margin to our lives. However, sometimes we get into the habit of saying ‘no’ so much that we dismiss the best things God brings into our lives.  We can even take it a step further and start saying ‘no’ to God.


The Power of One Word

Jonah also experienced this struggle when God asked Him to do something He didn’t want to do. God asked Jonah to go preach to the people in Nineveh. This was the last thing Jonah wanted to do. He had set a border around that which he would do for God. So, when God said ‘go’, he said ‘no’. Yet, as he tried to run away from God, God kept pursuing him. Jonah got on a boat and started heading in the opposite direction, only to be confronted with a terrible storm. Yet, God was present in that storm when Jonah was traveling in the opposite direction of his calling. God was making provisions for him through providing a fish to save his life after Jonah was thrown overboard into the sea.  If Jonah had not had enough time to think over his decision, he was now afforded that opportunity. As Jonah sat in the belly of a fish, his perspective began to change. He began to understand that when he committed to follow God, it wasn’t with a list of exceptions. He had just said ‘yes’. So, in order to fulfill God’s call on his life, he would have to change his answer. In the midst of God working in his heart, he said, “And I’ll do what I promised I’d do!” (Jonah 2:9b MSG)


Not only did Jonah’s response to obey God change his life, but it saved the whole city of Nineveh from judgement. Although our response to God’s call will impact our lives, it will also be further reaching, impacting people we may never even meet.

Responding to God

It is easy to respond to God when He asks us to do something within the realm of possibility. It is a more challenging response when it is outside of our comfort zone or seems impossible. It can cause us to rationalize and negotiate with God. Surely, He didn’t ask me to go there and do that? Yet, as Jonah experienced, it is better to obey God than find yourself following your own path to the middle of a storm at sea.


Obeying God is not always easy. Sometimes it is a struggle. Maybe you are experiencing that internal struggle as well. You remember a time when you told God that you would do anything and go anywhere. You imagined an international adventure but it seems that God has asked you to love your neighbor right where you are. You thought it would look different. Jeremiah 29:11(MSG) says, “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for.” God has great plans for your life, but that doesn’t always mean that it will look just like you think it will. It’s through spending time with Him that our hearts can become more aligned with His purposes. As we allow God to change our hearts, He is able place new desires and dreams inside of us. He will enable you to go where you never thought you could go.


If you are at a crossroads and wondering if you can really trust God, you can. He is trustworthy. So, when His plan looks a little different than your plan, trust Him. You are better off to follow where He leads than deliberately go in the opposite direction. Jonah had to change his direction, and he learned a powerful lesson: when God says ‘go’, just don’t say ‘no’.


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About Hona Amer

I help people live life to the fullest. Check out my book, Smart Work U. Follow me on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram. In order to receive updates, subscribe below.




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