My wife and I both have college degrees in communication. They usually don’t help.
Kathy is emotional and intuitive, feelings-based with high levels of relational energy invested in every conversation. I’m trapped in a perpetual viewing of Dragnet… I just want the facts, ma’am.
This has lead to more than one episode of, hmmm, how shall we put it… marital imperfection?
And, it’s too bad, because when we fight we usually have no reason to be even upset. The problem is that we just don’t communicate as clearly as we should.
When my wife wants something, I wish she’d just ask. But, instead, she wants me just to get it, figure it out, or perceive it because that would mean so much to her.
Honestly, I’m just not that smart.
So, in this playful bantering of communication mishaps, Kathy has tried to train me by asking leading questions to see if I can figure out what I should apparently understand:
- Kathy: “What do you want to eat tonight?” Me: “I don’t care.” Problem: the answer was right, but I didn’t understand the question. She wasn’t looking for information; she was looking for me to help… strike one.
- Kathy: “Can you believe she said that to me?” Me: “Yeah, it makes sense.” Problem: Whoa, danger zone. She didn’t want an answer; she wanted support. Not bright there big guy… strike two.
- Kathy: “Are these your underwear in the middle of the floor?” Me: Well, they better be.” Problem: It may have been funny, but… well if I have to explain this one to you, you are not trainable. Strike three.
The prophet Jonah did not have this problem. When he heard from the Lord, it was clear, distinct and undeniable.
“Arise, go to Nineveh,” said the Lord.
Jonah’s response was also clear, distinct and undeniable: “But Jonah rose to flee.”
The next time we see the word arise or rose is when everything has gone critical, and even a pagan sailor (can you even imagine the language on that boat) wakes Jonah up in the middle of a life-ending tempest and screams, “Arise, call out to your god!”
This was no three-hour tour where the weather started getting rough, and a tiny ship was tossed… this storm was God’s wrath in undeniable technicolor.
Well, we know what happens. Jonah becomes fish bait (or for you wealthy folks, sushi), suddenly has a change of heart from the belly of the beast and agrees to deliver God’s message.
Don’t give him too much credit. Most of us would agree to do about anything from the belly of a whale.
And after the most disgusting disembarkation in history, we see a rerun: the same word (arise or rose) is used three more times.
“Arise, go to Nineveh,” said the Lord. His message had not changed.
Jonah’s response was slightly different this time: “So Jonah arose and went.”
This time, the third use of ‘rise’ concerned the King of Nineveh, “And he arose from his throne.”
There is a huge difference in a “But Jonah rose” and “So Jonah arose.” The first brought a killer storm into his life, and the latter moved a king off his throne.
One risked the lives of sailors, and the other saved a nation.
One was the result of disobedience and the other the natural outcome of obeying the Lord.
Thanks be to God His word is clear. No guessing, figuring out or trying to understand.
God has given us promises, commands, rules, laws, guidance, and direction. The only thing that remains is our response.
Will we obey?
You’re probably thinking about something very specific. Something you know God has communicated, without a doubt.
That’s a word from the Lord my friend… it’s time for you to rise up.