Do you ever find there are days when your mind seems to have turned to cotton wool, and you just feel flat? Or you know what you should be doing, and you just can’t find the motivation?
The Old Testament reading this Sunday is from the book of the prophet Jonah. At the start of Jonah’s story, God called him to go to preach to the Ninevites – “but Jonah ran away from the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3) The job seemed too difficult, too unappealing, so Jonah bunked off in the opposite direction. Contrast our Gospel reading, where the fishermen Simon, Andrew, James and John dropped everything and followed Jesus the moment he called them. (Mark 1:14-20) But, tracing their experiences through the Gospel story, we see that even with their commitment and enthusiasm, they were often confused, at sea as to what was happening or what they should be doing and at times making as much of a mess of things as Jonah. Yet God saw potential in Jonah and in the disciples; he chose them and drew out what was needed from each of them.
That might not feel much comfort, when one is looking blankly at the page in life, trying to make sense of things. Jonah found his turning point in the isolation and despair of the belly of the fish, refreshing him to turn back to Nineveh and see through his role in God’s mission. In the beautiful poem of his lament and new hope in God, Jonah said “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you.” (Jonah 2:7) In Psalm 62 for this Sunday, the psalmist reiterates this patient trust through the ups and downs and reminds us, whatever the situation, to “pour out your hearts before God” (62:8) because “power belongs to God” (62:11).
When the page is blank, give it – empty – to God, and wait on him in stillness to fill it.
Photo by L.Gildersleeves