What to Do When God’s Will is the Other Way

Following God’s will is a wonderful thing. That is, when God leads us the same direction we’re already going. The hard part comes when the Lord changes our course.

What to Do When God’s Will is the Other Way

(Photo courtesy of Unsplash.com)

When God leads in a direction that seems exactly the opposite of the way He should lead, we’ll get logical in a hurry.

  • We find statistics to explain why it won’t work.
  • We’ll even quote Scriptures to support our bents.

For example, in an attempt to discredit Jesus, the Pharisees claimed, “no prophet arises out of Galilee” (John 7:52). Oh really? The prophet Jonah came from Gath-hepher, located right beside Jesus’ hometown of Nazareth!

It’s easy to forget about this minor prophet who ran from God. It’s easy because we often do the same.

Here’s how to avoid that.

When God’s Will Grinds the Gears

Jonah had no desire for God to forgive the pagan Nineveh. So when the Lord told him to preach in Assyria’s future capital, he took a ship from Joppa bound for Tarshish—the opposite direction of Nineveh!

What to Do When God’s Will is the Other Way

(Photo: Ancient Joppa, where Jonah sailed from God. Courtesy of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands)

In the furious squall that followed, Jonah found himself in the belly of a great fish, confessing, “Salvation is from the LORD” (Jon. 2:9). (Of course, Jonah meant his salvation, not Nineveh’s.)

The fish hurled Jonah onto dry land, back to the task he had run
 from.

  • Again the Lord told Jonah to go to Nineveh, and this time Jonah obeyed.
  • He preached, Nineveh repented, and what Jonah feared, happened.
  • God forgave them.

As Jonah later sulked in the sun, watching 
what would happen to the city, the Lord provided a plant for shade.
 For the first time in the book, Jonah smiled. But then God sent a worm
 to eat the plant.

When the heat hit Jonah’s head, he became faint and begged God to take his life.

God’s Will and Our Creature Comforts

In His grace, God appointed the fish, the plant, the worm, and the wind—all to get Jonah to change.

God gets our attention

(Photo: Engraving by Gustave Doré. Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Often, our blessings turn into entitlements and we become more concerned with trifles such as plants than with people made in God’s image. Our grumblings only betray that we’re running in a direction opposite from God.

God doesn’t bless us just to make us happy; He blesses us to make us a blessing. —Warren Wiersbe

When we think about it, Jesus didn’t cling to comforts when it came time to obey the Father. The difficulty of submitting to God is easier than the difficulty of running from Him.

2 Questions to Ask When God’s Will is the Other Way

  1. What creature comforts may God have removed from our lives to reveal an inordinate preoccupation with self?
  2. Do we feel God has let us down because He runs the universe differently than we would?

When God’s will makes us uncomfortable today, let’s use that incentive to choose the right direction.

Tell me what you think: Has God ever gotten your attention by removing something? To leave a comment, just click here.


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This post is adapted from Wayne’s book, Going Places with God: A Devotional Journey Through the Lands of the Bible.

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