There is a spectrum on which all humans exist: on one end there is complete yieldedness and heartfelt sonship to the one true God. On the opposite end is "godness" or regarding oneself as god. Jesus as the second Adam and firstborn of many was the sole occupant of the good end and maybe Hitler or others have claim to the other end. But the great mass of humanity find themselves in between the two poles moving one way or the other. The work of the Holy Spirit is to move us along towards Jesus' end and away from the end Satan rules. All lawlessness, which we might define as resisting the structure that the rules and guidelines of the Bible create, and idol worship, and atheism and agnosticism allow the individual to rule his own existence as he or she desires.
Ideally we will move steadily and surely towards the Jesus pole throughout our lives. Realistically , life is a fitful, uneven struggle with some triumphant quantum leaps and much stumbling and backtracking. Our journey to the Jesus pole, like Israels pilgrimage to the Promised Land reveals what is in us. Movement to the pole depends on our discarding those elements of self that hinder us and putting on godliness. Setbacks are caused by stubbornness, doubt, and faithlessness. The book of Hebrews points out that while Israel heard the words of God , they did not mix the message with faith and therefore did not enter in- a whole generation perished in the wilderness as a result. This journey is likened to a climb up a steep, rocky mountainside for which the psalmist cries out for hinds( mountain goat) feet. It's a tough slog!
A wonderful illustration of the nature and difficulty of this effort can be found in the lives of Elijah and Jonah. In 1Kings 17, the Word begins recounting the astounding ministry of Elijah who believed for a mighty miracle of provision for the widow of Zaraphath, who had faith for a barren woman to bear a child and then interceded to bring that same child back to life after an illness killed him. Who, in great faith proclaimed a drought to the king and in greater faith proved the God of Israel over Baal, defying 850 false prophets who had great favor with the king and queen, and then obeyed the word of the Lord and stood in faith for the rain to come forth. It is impossible to believe that a vessel so yielded, a man so imbued w/ sonship could give in to unbelief,... But he did!
Then Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah, saying, So let the gods do to me, and more also, if I make not your life as the life of one of them by this time tomorrow.
Then he was afraid and arose and went for his life and came to Beersheba of Judah [over eighty miles, and out of Jezebel’s realm] and left his servant there.
He may have been exhausted after killing all those false prophets or suffering the after affects of an adrenaline dump, OR he may have been disappointed with the results.
Jonah was a devout follower of God and a prophet who God wanted to deliver a message to the great city of Nineveh. For all of its history. Nineveh was a pagan city worshipping many gods but never Jehovah. It probably galled Jonah to suspect that his obedience would result in the deliverance of this city rather than its destruction.
It's likely that after the drought and the rain and the great demonstration by God and humiliation of Baal that Elijah might have expected Ahab and Jezebel to repent and perhaps fall at the feet of Elijah and repent and maybe even reward him as Nebuchadnezzar and his grandson later did when Daniel gave them a hard word. It may have been the lack of a good ending and a renewed vow of this wicked queen Jezebel that disappointed Elijah and opened the door to fear and a resulting hopelessness and depression which he got over.
Jonah's suspicion about God's motives behind His order to go warn ( proclaim imminent punishment) Nineveh caused him to rebel and run. This would represent a serious backup on the road to the Jesus pole. Likewise his sullenness and anger at the great city not being destroyed betrays a lack of understanding of the God he has so faithfully served. Jonah's reaction is much like the prodigal's brother; though he has faithfully served his father, he misunderstands his mercy and falls short in walking in his sonship.
How often have you felt a prompting of the Holy Spirit to pray for someone and they reject you, or give a word of knowledge or prophecy and it's inaccurate or doesn't come to pass in a day and what happened to your faith? And then your yieldedness? You become disappointed in the result and that opens doors to things that are not good. Resentment, doubt, and a loss of joy and enthusiasm. Usually disappointment results from an expectation not being met. But yieldedness and sonship depend on a trust and faith that resists shaking and expectations suggests a bit of going beyond our position. Who are we to be disappointed in God because our expectations were not met?
We don't know what became of Jonah, but we're able to follow Elijah as he struggles through an existential depression and a despair of his mission. But the Lord deals with him in kindness and gentleness and returns him to duty. One of the most grueling challenges that faces a believer is faith and trust killing affect of bitter disappointment. Imagine the life of Joseph, to whom God gave a dream of great destiny: he finds himself incarcerated for something he didn't do causing him to 1) doubt the keeping power of God and 2) doubt the dream and/ or God's ability to bring it to pass.
... If after a season of great and devastating disappointment we, as a matter of faith, decide to continue to believe just because God says so, we make one of those aforementioned quantum leaps in faith. I submit that it is not the realization of our faith's vision that grows our faith, but the assertion ( or re- assertion) of our faith as a sheer act of will purely on God's word that grows faith. And it's that battle hardened faith that enables yieldedness and heightens our sense of sonship.
If you find yourself dashed to the ground or incarcerated and made helpless to pursue your destiny, take heart! You're in great company. Don't let deep disappointment decimate your faith. Tell satan he's a liar and decide that you are a yielded and blessed son (or daughter) of the Most High God! Theo