The Material Girl, Madonna, the pop singer, was very ill this past summer.  She had some kind of infection that put her in a coma for a few days.  When she woke up she shared that she had spoken to god. God asked if she was wanted to come to him and she said, “No”. She then went on to share about the power of the universe and how you sometimes just need to put yourself out there and tell the universe what you desire.  She used much more colorful language to emphasize her no but you get the point.  When you create your own god, then you are able to tell them what you want to do.
It really struck my heart when I read that she told her god no.  Pretty bold move to say no but then her god did ask her opinion.  Not sure that I picture the God of the Bible, the ruler of the universe, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, the creator of all...not sure I picture him asking our opinions.  He is the all knowing, good God. He loves me so much that he will always do what is best for me and what brings him the most glory.  Bringing him glory is what I was created for and so it is where I find my greatest joy.  I always want him deciding what is best for me.
But, sadly, like Jonah, we often tell him “no”.  He may, like he did with Jonah, ask us to do something we are very uncomfortable doing. Speak to a co-worker, pray with someone, write an email, etc. and we tell him “no”.  To be honest, we may never really say the word “no”.  We simply procrastinate until the moment is over.  Isn’t that the same as saying no?  What about when we fail to read and study our Bibles?  When we fail to spend time in prayer?  Are we forsaking assembling together?  When was the last time you confessed and repented of your sin?  How are those times of disobedience any different from looking at Jesus and saying “no”?  
One of the things that we are great at, is that we soften our sin.  We do not confess it as God has called us to do.  Confessing is saying the same thing as God.  We do not call it lying but fibbing or hiding the truth.  We call it an affair rather than adultery.  We slipped rather than we chose to sin.  We didn’t lust we just looked, at least we didn’t order.  Here is what we need to ask ourselves, “How do you think God would speak of what you just did or failed to do?”.  We know in our hearts, that he would be honest about our sin.  He would call it as it is.  He wouldn’t hide the darkness but would see it in all of its filth.  He would also, though, love us as much as he did the moment before we sinned.  He would offer forgiveness, mercy, and grace even in the midst of our darkest moment.  His patience and long suffering would be heaped upon us.  He would not be ashamed to call us his children.  For all of those who have given their lives to Jesus, his blood covers all our sins and allows the Father to lavish us with love, in spite of our sin.
Unfortunately, in my arrogance and desire to set my own agenda and rules, I tell God, “no”.  Probably more often than I want to admit.  In his grace, and because I stand in the righteousness of Jesus, his wrath is no longer upon me.  Like Jonah, he gives me a free ride towards me being submissive enough to say, “yes”.   He then chooses to use me and in my petulance and, just like Jonah, I probably complain but his patience chooses to continue to grow me and to never give me up. I could never make up a God who is like he is.  I am grateful that he chose to love me and to be my God.  May I strive to never say “no” to him again.

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