“I don’t want to get it together!” cried the little girl.
She was about three years old, and in the grocery store with her daddy. Like any young one shopping with their parents they want to help. And, that is what she was attempting to do. By help I mean pick out all the things they like, and put them in the cart.
As she and her father moved down the dairy isle, she was crying and informing him emphatically that he had not put a particular item in the cart. I heard him say, “if you don’t stop I will put back the other things you wanted.” Well. Being a mother, and now a grandmother, I knew that would not work. And it didn’t.
As I shopped, I could not help but smile at the scene. Her daddy tried to shop, and ignore her. I think mom’s may be a little more skilled at that. Especially when it’s a daddy and his little girl.
He was being so patient, looking at his list, looking at the items on the shelf, and trying to calm his child. He had quite the task. Finally, at the end of the isle he stopped, looked at her, and in a calm but stern voice said, “if you don’t get it together everything will go back, and you get nothing.” Of which she responds with her little voice, and tears in her eyes, “I don’t want to get it together!”
In that moment I thought, how many times had my Heavenly Father had to tell me to get it together, and I responded with “I don’t want to get it together”? We don’t have enough time for me to tell you of all the instances.
- The times when God has asked me to do something, and I did not want to. Better yet, I didn’t feel like it. Has that ever happened to you?
- Other times when I had an agenda, a plan, a list, and things were just not working out the way I wanted. Can you relate to that?
- Or the times when I felt like I *deserved* something, or special treatment, but no recognition was given. Then my pity party begins. They can last for hours, or days. Have you had any of those kinds of parties?
- Moments when I felt like I was *right*. I’ll just leave that one alone. You?
Like that young father, sometimes God will let me go on with my complaining. Other times, He will speak to me and say “you better get it together.”
There’s a man that was given a task from God. An important one at that, but because he had his own agenda. Things on his list that that he wanted to do he was not having any part of the plan God had included him in.
“The LORD gave this message to Jonah son of Amittai: “Get up and go to the great city of Nineveh. Announce my judgement against it because I have seen how wicked its people are.” Jnh. 1:1-2 NLT
Most of us equate the story with a whale – Jonah and the whale. God doesn’t tell us what Jonah was doing before He spoke to him. All we know is that after God had instructed him, Jonah basically said, “I don’t think so,” (my paraphrase) because verse three begins with
“But Jonah ran away from the LORD.” Jnh. 1:3a NIV.
He went to a fishing port, and found a boat to get aboard. I am imagining that Jonah was complaining, and telling all the sailors on board about how there was something he didn’t want to do. The bible does not tell us what he says exactly, but we do know that he did tell them he was running away from the LORD. (1:10) I wonder if he went on and on, like the little girl in the grocery store, until finally the men said, “you better get it together.”
With that Jonah got it together and went down below to sleep (1:5). In the story God causes a fierce storm to arise. God had a task for him, and his not wanting to get it together for God was not going to work.
- What are you trying to get?
- What is God asking you to do, and you are going in the opposite direction?
- Do you find yourself saying, “I just can’t catch a break?”
Do you find yourself going the other way like Jonah, or like the sailors do you find yourself trying to overcome a situation in your own strength?
“Instead, the men rowed even harder to get the ship to the land. But the stormy sea was too violent for them, and they couldn’t make it.” Jnh. 1:13 NLT
If you know the story Jonah was then thrown overboard and a great fish swallowed him. Sorry, not a whale. He was in the fish for three days, until finally – he got it together. Jonah prayed to God, and recognized God’s power and care for him that the sea did not kill him.
“In trouble, deep trouble, I prayed to GOD. He answered me. From the belly of the grave I cried, ‘Help!” You heard my cry.” Jnh. 2:1 MSG
Like the young father in the grocery store, when God tells us to get it together, he will bend down to meet us right where we are. God will be face-to-face with his child, as he gently and at times firmly, calms us.
“My dear child, don’t shrug off God’s discipline, but don’t be crushed by it either. It’s the child he loves that he disciplines; the child he embraces, he also corrects.” Heb. 12: 5-6 MSG
We see Jonah get it together and go to Nineveh to obey what God had told him. (Jnh. 3) Jonah changed his plans, his desires, his agenda, and accepted the one God had for him. But, then when the outcome was not what Jonah thought it should be, he complained that God did not destroy the city. The Message says it best, “Jonah was furious.” Jnh. 4:1. What he wanted, was not what the Father wanted.
I imagine if there was a grocery store, all the way down the diary isle Jonah would be expressing himself to his Heavenly Father. And, like the young father who told his daughter “I will put everything back.”
God tells Jonah, “What do you have to be angry about?” Jnh. 4:4 MSG
Jonah, you better get it together. You have other things, you have Me. You have my grace, mercy, and love. Yet, like Jonah, and like the little girl, we still want things our way. We want to add to the cart, and have our Father pay for it.
“See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! But the people who belong to this world don’t recognize that we are God’s children because they don’t know him.” 1 Jn. 3:1 NLT
Upon the little girl’s response to her daddy, I couldn’t help but chuckle out loud. The father looked at me, and I said “I’m sorry. I do not mean to laugh, but I know exactly how she feels. At times I don’t want to get it together either.”
He responded with, “I know right.” I went on my way, and as I glanced back he was bent down face to face with his little girl and talking to her. She had gotten it together.
And, for the moment, with the help of my Heavenly Father, I have gotten it together. Have you?
©Gentle Whisper Ministries 2016
*pictures by clipartbest, gcaptain, pinterest