The 17-year-old teen sat in the counselor’s office. With his head bowed and looking sad he confessed, “I’ve been depressed for three years. Sometimes I think about committing suicide.” Professionals say most misery is self-induced. Even though illness or a bad experience may trigger misery, it’s usually the pain and hurt we suffer when we don’t get what we want. That’s what happened to Jonah, the reluctant prophet. God told him to go to Nineveh and warn the people that because their sins, horrible judgment was coming. But these Assyrians were a threat to Jonah’s nation, so he preferred God to swoop down and wipe them out. So instead of obeying God, he chose to flee; but in doing so, he lost. He lost God’s presence by going in the opposite direction to Nineveh. He lost God’s peace and went through great misery, first in the storm, then in the belly of the fish. When we choose to go in the opposite direction from God’s purpose for us, we too can be miserable—often not knowing the cause of our misery. The only way to get rid of the misery is admit our mistake to God, and seek His guidance on how to get back on the right track.
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