Sunday, December 11, 2016

TheStoryOfJonah : The Fourth Key to Repentance

I sat in a Turkish language lesson once and my teacher, very intelligent, wanted my help with some traffic signs depicting various bits of information they give to passing drivers. As we flipped through the signs, we both were able to learn new things about each others' languages, yet when we flipped to a yield sign, as I described what it meant, she became very confused. She clearly had no idea what I was trying to explain. It was clear that my concept of yielding just simply didn't exist, not only in her mind, but also while she drives in her country. Interesting isn't it?

Yet I wonder. If we really stopped to think about yielding in our lives, whether we would have the same confused look on our faces if we were to really look at Scripture with an open heart to discuss what yielding to the LORD really looks like. I believe we don't know how to yield very well. The very first picture I have in my mind of a 'perfect yielder' is Jesus. The passage that I am reminded of is while He was in the Garden of Gethsemane: 

And He came out and proceeded as was His custom to the Mount of Olives; and the disciples also followed Him. When He arrived at the place, He said to them, “Pray that you may not enter into temptation.” And He withdrew from them about a stone’s throw, and He knelt down and began to pray, saying, “Father, if You are willing, remove this cup from Me; yet not My will, but Yours be done.” Now an angel from heaven appeared to Him, strengthening Him. And being in agony He was praying very fervently; and His sweat became like drops of blood, falling down upon the ground (Luke 22:39-44).

If I were to tell you that the perfect example of yielding is Jesus Christ, what images come to your mind? His Cross? His life? His prayer-life? Gets a little uncomfortable doesn't it? To yield to God, I believe, is the most important thing we could ever do in relating to Him, but I also believe it is the most challenging. Take this experience with Jesus in the Garden for instance. He speaks honestly, out of a heart of flesh saying, Father if you are willing, remove this cup from Me. Jesus knew that there would be pain, excruciating pain, involved in what He had to do - and He pleaded in hopes there was some other way. But He also prayed that if there was no other way, He would stare pain in the face with an honest, bold face and say, Father, may Your will be done.

Do we really know how to yield? We see these fantastic words coming from Jonah - pleas, on his part to the LORD, to give him another chance. We hear his honest confessions and yielding to God's plan instead of his own. I hate to break it to you, but Jonah's lessons weren't done in the belly of a fish. He had a lot more to come. But for now, I do believe that Jonah's pleas were honest and pure. I believe he sincerely wanted to yield to the LORD. I believe that he saw no other option. But I also believe that his yielding wasn't a manipulative motivation. As I discussed in my last entry, I think it is very possible that Jonah knew that if something wasn't changed in his circumstance soon, he would be looking around and seeing his last images and facing drowning. And so he yielded to the LORD.
You know as well as I do that yielding and manipulating cannot go together. If someone has asked you to do something, yielding to them simply means obedience. No asking to change their mind. No pleading for them to understand how difficult the circumstance is. I found an interesting perspective when thinking about yielding at

'Today, this phrase is used mostly as a 'figure of speech' or, if actually performed, only as a symbolic/ceremonial event. You only 'yield your sword' when surrendering to your opponent or enemy.'

I am happy to report that in Yielding to God, we are not yielding to an enemy! Yielding to the LORD, as a key to repentance, actually brings life! Yielding to the LORD, as a process of restoring, does necessitate us laying down our sword (our plans, wishes or desires even), but also includes incredible blessing as, like in medieval times, the LORD picks up that sword and taps it on both of our shoulders and we are asked to stand, honoured, not only as knights, but as a part of His family.

So, for these reasons, and for so many more, may we know the importance of Yielding to the LORD as a part of our repentance today. As a part of our repentance, may we seek to Pray for Help, Accept the LORD's Discipline, Trust Him as He Leads and Yield to His Plan for our lives. For His Glory. For His Fame.  

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