Did you know that it's usually easier to run FROM God then run WITH him? For many years I could always feel God calling me to something - a purpose, a message to speak, a place. Although it always wasn't crystal clear, I knew my heart should always be prepared for wherever he wanted to take me. Just recently, God lead me to read the book of Jonah. If you've ever been to vacation bible school or grew up in church this story is widely known among church-goers. To sum up the story of Jonah: God called him to go tell a message to people he didn't like all to well, so he did like most of us would do and ran in the opposite direction. To me this story always seemed kind of crazy. I'd always ask to myself "Why did he run?,""Why not go head first into what God was calling him to do?"
And then I read the story AGAIN. This time really digging into what was actually going on in Jonah's head. Jonah let his fear out weigh his faith. (Well, I can sure relate to that). He decided running from God was safer than obeying God. See Jonah was a Jew, God called him to go and preach in Nineveh (The Assyrians). If you've ever read anything about the Assyrians in history class let's just say they are "The Worst". And especially not very kind to Jews.
So Jonah packed his bags and ran far far away. However, God doesn't give up on us as fast as we give up on him. God had a much bigger plan for Jonah. In the midst of running away Jonah jumped on a ship. While he was on this ship, a powerful storm came and the other guys on the ship were trying to figure out why this storm had suddenly came upon them. So like many of us they started asking questions. They got around to talking to Jonah and Jonah explained to them he was running from God, which caused the storm & basically told the other guys to chuck him off the ship. Crazy right? If I was Jonah in this situation, my first reaction would not have been "well, chuck me overboard guys". After getting throw into the sea, to make the story even crazier, God commands a Whale to swallow him. Where he would then be stuck for THREE DAYS, in a fish - yuck!!
After lots of praying & quite enough alone time with God - God commanded the fish to spit him out right back where Jonah started. You can definitely see God's humor in this story, although I'm sure it wasn't all that fun for Jonah.
So my question for you is: What are you running from?
Are you running from God, his plans for you, his purpose, a calling that seems too scary?
Believe me when I tell you I know what it feels like to be called to something that you seem way to unqualified for.
Are you running from:
Fear of Failure
Fear of hearing the Truth
And the list can go on and on and on.
However, all that running will take you around in circles or stuck in a giant fish. All of those fears have no power over the faith you have been given. We don't have to fear because our faith is found in the one who FREED us!
Fear is a choice.
The story of Jonah shows us the reckless, pursuing love of God. Even while we are sprinting away, he still chases after us and goes before us. In our disobedience, he teaches us.
Even in our anger, just like with Jonah, he is patient and takes time to show us who he is.
Jonah 2:2 " I called to the lord in my distress and he answered me. I cried out for help in the belly of Sheol (fish) - you heard my voice"
There is no way I could know what you are going through today. But I do know the God we serve doesn't give up on our stubborn hearts. Stop running and start living fearless.