Jonah and Jeremiah

I don’t want to write this blog post. When I went to bed last night, I had absolutely no ideas for my next post and hoped I would think of something to write about by the time I woke up. This morning, I still had nothing and the blank space on the page seemed to glare out at me, mocking me with its lack of inspiration. I felt like throwing myself down on the couch and complaining, groaning, muttering—being in a general grumpy and irritable mood. I probably just needed to go for a run but this blog post would still have been waiting for me upon my return. Jonah’s option of just getting on a boat and running away from all responsibility was starting to seem like a great idea. I also thought about the Prophet Jeremiah exclaiming, “Ah Lord God! Truly I cannot speak for I am only a youth.” Agreed, Jeremiah. I am only a youth, I don’t have theological training, I’m not a model of religious devotion or piety, and I definitely don’t have anything to say right now. But all these excuses fail because they are just that—excuses. After Jeremiah’s protest, God responds with “Do not say, ‘I am only a youth’; for you shall go to all to whom I send you, and you shall speak whatever I command you. Do not be afraid of them, for I am with you to deliver you…I have put my words in your mouth.” And, like Jonah, I found myself trapped with the realization that it’s impossible to get away from this. The thing about having a God who works through all people is that you can’t come up with excuses for why you’re unfit or why you don’t have anything to contribute or how you just don’t have any ideas.

The problem is, I know it’s supposed to be comforting when God says ‘I will put my words in your mouth’ but they still feel like my inadequate words and I don’t always feel like the most useful vessel. There are days like this where I don’t really want to say anything, to write anything, to reflect on anything. There are days when I would really just love to get on a ship to Tarshish or build a wall of excuses around myself. But somehow, God still finds ways to work through me. As intimidating as it is, it can also be somewhat comforting to know that wherever I go, God will be there; that whatever I say, God will speak through me; that whatever I do, God will work through me.

I’d like to end with verses from psalm 139. You can read it as a contemplative reflection on the vastness and awesomeness of God but psalmists are people too; on days like today, I prefer to read it as the voice of someone who’s pretty fed up with God’s inescapable-ness. They take comfort in having such a deep relationship with God but also find it a little overwhelming.


Psalm 139: 1-18

Oh Lord, you have searched me and known me.

You know when I sit down and when I rise up;

You discern my thoughts from far away.

You search out my path and my lying down,

And are acquainted with all my ways.

Even before a word is on my tongue,

O Lord, you know it completely.

You hem me in, behind and before,

And lay your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me;

It is so high that I cannot attain it.


Where can I go from your spirit?

Or where can I flee from your presence?

If I ascend to heaven, you are there;

If I make my bed in Sheol, you are there.

If I take the wings of the morning

And settle at the farthest limits of the sea,

Even there you hand shall lead me,

And your right hand shall hold me fast.

If I say, “Surely the darkness shall cover me,

And the light around me become night,”

Even the darkness is not dark to you;

The night is as bright as the day,

For darkness is as light to you.


For it was you who formed my inward parts;

You knit me together in my mother’s womb.

I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.

Wonderful are your works;

That I know very well.

My frame was not hidden from you,

When I was being made in secret,

Intricately woven in the depths of the earth.

Your eyes beheld my unformed substance.

In your book were written

All the days that were formed for me,

When none of them as yet existed.

How weighty to me are your thoughts, O God!

How vast is the sum of them!

I try to count them—they are more than the sand;

I come to the end—I am still with you.


Daryl D Daugs posted on October 4, 2016 at 1:26 am

Thanks for your thoughts and Psalm 139. I needed that.

Maritt Nowak posted on October 4, 2016 at 11:22 am

Even when you don’t feel like it you are the most adequate of vessels! You are like a Qing dynasty era porcelain vase. Or maybe just a full canteen strapped to a lone traveler in the Empty Quarter. Both beautiful and important in a unique way. I just wanted to share that.
Much love!

kmshultz posted on October 4, 2016 at 11:41 am

Aw, thanks, Maritt!

Devin Harvin posted on October 4, 2016 at 10:52 pm

This is relatable and powerful, great piece.

Post a Comment

Your email address is never shared. Required fields are marked *