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Jonah 1:4-10, Mark 4:41, Proverbs 16:33
Text: Jonah 1:4-10, Mark 4:41, Proverbs 16:33
This is part of a 7-day series on Jonah in the Lent 2016 reading plan.
I can imagine him there, on the boat. Pulling the coarse blanket tighter and rolling over, sighing as he sank deeper into sleep. Perhaps the dark, warm cabin where Jonah slept creaked and groaned as the waves outside surged with increasing intensity. Meanwhile, the sailors above deck were left to scan the horizon, and anxiously glance up toward a dark, grey sky, heavy with the strength of the Lord Almighty. And as each man cried out to his own false god, the One true God was coming for Jonah.
He was running away, but God pursued him like only the Creator and Lord of the sea could: with a furious ocean tempest. Jonah tried to flee from the very presence of the Lord, believing he could hide out in an old boat heading in a new direction.
But our God is fierce and awesome in His pursuit. There was never any chance of Jonah hiding from Him. Even the inanimate dice the sailors used to cast lots pointed to Jonah as the one running from God (Jonah 1:7). All creation seemed to be shouting, “Return!” In the face of the deafening storm and sure signs, the sailors feared for their lives, and looked to Jonah with eyes of blame and hands ready to give him the heave-ho.
God uses wind and waves, pennies and dice; everything in creation stands by to obey its Creator. When we read about His greatness, we’re left in awe and wonder. But in real life, it can all be so terrifying in the moment.
God’s pursuit is relentless exactly because He is so loving. He could’ve crushed Jonah under a tremendous sea surge and found another man. Jonah had his chance, and he clearly took the coward’s way out, right? God gave him a clear-as-day instruction—something we all long for—and he ran like a frightened child in the other direction. Why didn’t God give up on Jonah?
God wanted Jonah. Goodness, isn’t that amazing?
I sometimes feel like I’m a substandard version of the person who should actually be living my life. I often worry there is someone who would be a better mother to my kids, wife to my husband, friend to my friends. And the truth is, I do fall short. But despite my imperfections and failings, I’m the right mother for my children and wife for the husband God has so graciously given me. And I’m a good friend to those He’s gifted me with in this journey.
God gives specific callings to specific people. That means God wants me for my particular calling and life. It means He has specific plans for you too. Ephesians tells us “we are His creation, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared ahead of time so that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
We can’t escape God and His stormy gale of purpose. He pursues us with love that is filled with a beautiful intensity unlike anything else we have ever known.
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.”