“Jonah! Go to Nineveh. Tell the people to repent. Their sins will be forgiven. If they don’t, I shall destroy their city,” said the Lord. “I can’t. Don’t you remember what the people of Nineveh did to me? Let their city be destroyed! Do I need to remind you how they ruined my life? The Lord answered, “No, Jonah I remember. This is why you must tell the people to repent.” “Maybe you don’t remember it the way it happened, because if you did, surely I would never have to step into that wicked city,” I said.
I was eight years old when it happened. It was a hot summer day and my sister was helping my mother cook dinner. Suddenly, there was a hard knock on the door. My mother thought it was just my family coming to visit as they said they would. When she opened the door to welcome them, she saw something much different. There were three Ninevite soldiers at the door. The first thing I did was hide. I ran and hid under a piece of cloth we used for a blanket. I waited under there for what seemed like hours. I could hear the loud footsteps of the soldiers walking around the house. Finally, I came out when I knew for sure that the soldiers were gone. I walked around the home but could not find my family. It occurred to me that they were kidnapped by the soldiers. I thought I had been selfish and inconsiderate to only save myself. I knew I would never see my family again. I collapsed on the floor and cried. I lived for a month on my own before anyone found out. Early in the morning I’d collect the fruit that had fallen from the trees on the ground. I was not tall enough to reach the good fruit on the tree limbs yet. When it was time to make the monthly payments, I could not. The Assyrian soldiers were mad that I had been living there. I was forced out of the only home I knew. I had to find somewhere else to live. I went to my Aunt and Uncle’s house. They said I had disappointed my family. I lived with them until I was old enough to have a job of my own.
“So, you see, I am not going to Nineveh”, I said. “No, Jonah, you will go and preach,” the Lord declared. “Try and make me,” I said.