Read Jonah 1:1-2. Here is the heart of Jonah’s call from God. For such a call to take place at least four things need to occur in the process:

1. There has to be a Word from GodIt may take many forms: audible voice, inaudible voice, dreams, visions, a strong impression, a sentence in words, a command, or a description. But in every case it is God’s truth. Truth is the highest form of reality that exists. If so, there must be lower forms of reality and existence. There is! It is the fantasy and fiction that is broadcasted all around us every day. The untruth we hear, see, and read in the world – the word of man’. This must be confronted faithfully and forcefully with the Word of God. Prophets alone have access to this higher reality, and must speak it.

2. That Word has to come both to us and to our hearers – The recipients are always people. Usually, men and women who have resisted the dumbed-down, numbed culture of our day, and who have become alert and alive to alternative constructions of reality as God defines and wants it to be. So they dare to tell others also.

3. The word has to be transmitted accurately – usually involving a journey entailing physical movement, hardship, travelling in spite of difficulties or misgivings, so that those agents become messengers who contact and engage in faithful truth-telling with anyone who’ll listen – the very people God intended when God gave the Word to you.

4. The power of God must attend that Word only then can it effect the changes God has planned to bring to pass by sending it. Of course, something may go wrong at any of these stages. We may misread or hear what God is saying, substituting the word of man for the Word of God. We may be too dull listen, even when God is truly speaking. We may tamper with the word in some way, or fumble the catch and drop it altogether. A lot can go wrong, since Stages 2-4 concern the human agent, namely you. And in Jonah’s case it actually did go wrong.

God’s man Jonah ran in the opposite direction! Have you ever done the same? Ask God for more faithfulness and courage that lasts.