Today’s Scripture: And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown. So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste any thing: let them not feed, nor drink water: But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not? And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. Jonah 3:4-10

Imagine flipping on the television to find your favorite sportscast interrupted by a Live Emergency Newscast of the President of the United States making a public announcement. Your eyes are glued to the television screen as you hear him say, “…I interrupt this broadcast to inform you that a reliable source has warned of imminent peril threatening the safety and security of our country. This leads me to declare an extended state of national emergency. The crisis…may have severe repercussions on our national infrastructure. We will attempt to counter this force using the most effective means possible. Nevertheless, I summon every citizen…to observe an extended fast, refraining from all food and drink, and to call upon the God of our Forefathers. Perhaps He will have mercy upon us and spare us from this great calamity.”

This is a modern version of the chief official of Nineveh’s response after he got word of God’s intended judgment. He called the people to give up food and water and call upon the Lord for the sake of the city. The people obeyed, and their temporary discomfort brought God’s blessing.

For the Christian, pain is to be expected. It’s a part of the growth process. Through it all, God works on us, in us, and through us to change us into the image of Christ. It’s not always easy to yield, but your pain will bring gain and God’s glory.

Devotional by Pastor Jim Scudder, Jr.