...back to Jonah...
I still can’t get away from the beginning of verse 3, chapter 1. The NLT reads, “But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction to get away from the Lord.” The NIV bluntly states, “But Jonah ran away from the Lord.”
Jonah was running from a direct command of the Lord. God very clearly told him to go to Ninevah and warn them of God’s coming judgment. Jonah knew, without a doubt, what he was to do—what was expected of him.
I wish I could say I just can’t relate to that. I wish I could just take this very literally and say that since God isn’t calling me to go to a foreign nation to warn them of His impending judgment, there’s no message here for me. But, I’m not off the hook. God has been calling me to look closely at a specific sin in my life—ugh, a place I really do not want to go. So mostly I’ve been ignoring Him about it. Mostly I just think it’s not really that big of a deal. I mean, come on, there’s a whole lot worse things happening out there. What I did isn't really so bad, as far as sins go. Excuses and running. Not so very different from Jonah.
As the hand of God rests heavy on me revealing my sin, do I go to sleep in the bottom of the boat and allow a storm to rage within me? Or do I run to His arms and confess? I know I can’t do this on my own. I so badly want to hold onto the frustration, the anger, the angst (I can so easily justify it). But I see Jesus holding out his arms to me asking me if I could just release this to him. I know in my heart that it’s only in His arms will I find relief from the raging storm in me. So, it’s time to turn back to Him. He’s inviting me to come in confession and repentance. Confession is agreeing with the Lord about a matter (yes, Lord, I see this as sin in my life), and repentance is turning back to Him (change).
And just like Jonah, I know I will be given another opportunity to go in the right direction when a similar situation comes up. God does that, doesn’t He? As Beth Moore likes to say, “God takes us on field trips until we get it right.” Sometimes those field trips are not so fun…but they’re always informative!
“My child, don’t reject the Lord’s discipline,
And don’t be upset when He corrects you.
For the Lord corrects those He loves,
Just as a father corrects a child in whom He delights.” Prov. 3:11,12