Do you remember the story of Jonah? He took a three-day vacation to a place I’m sure none of us has ever been. Remember?
Jonah spent three days in the dark, smelly belly of a great big fish. Why on earth would anyone want to do that?
“But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord. He went down to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping to escape from the Lord by sailing to Tarshish.” (Jonah 1:3)
Jonah loved God, but he had a problem. You see, God asked him to do something that Jonah didn’t want to do. He was asked to go to Nineveh and preach. Jonah knew all about Nineveh and the bad people who lived there and he didn’t want to go.
So, Jonah decided to do his own thing by going in the opposite direction of Nineveh and running away from God.
Jonah went down to the docks and found a ship going to Tarshish—the opposite direction of Nineveh. He bought a ticket and quickly made his way down into the ship, feeling satisfied that his plan was working. Soon he would be far away from the responsibility God had given him.
After they had traveled several miles out into the ocean, a storm began. The ship tossed and swayed so violently that the captain thought they were going to die.
He told all the sailors to start throwing things overboard in order to save their lives.
Jonah knew in the depths of his heart what this storm was all about and told the captain to throw him overboard. He was sure the storm would stop.
Reluctantly, the captain obeyed and over Jonah went…splash!
As the captain and the others watched, they could hardly believe their eyes when a big fish came and swallowed Jonah. Then the storm was gone.
For three long days, Jonah was in the belly of that fish. There wasn’t much to do down there but think and pray—and you can be sure he did a lot of that.
When Jonah had recognized his rebellion and asked God for forgiveness—telling God he was willing to do whatever He asked him to do—God caused the fish to spit Jonah out onto the shore not far from Nineveh. How about that for a rerouted submarine ride?
Can we run away and hide from God? No, and I don’t think we really want to.
There may be something that God will ask you to do someday that you really don’t want to do. Instead of running away from God and the responsibility that He might place on you, run to God and ask Him to help you do what He has asked you to do.
In Philippians 4:13 it says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
Is there something you are dealing with today that you want to run from? Don’t! Instead, run to Jesus and He will give you the wisdom and strength to accomplish it.
Go and be strong in the Lord.
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