Riding away from God’s will

The Jonah is all of us.

Jonah’s story was one of those biblical tales that fascinated many of us. The imagery, the adventure, the sheer drama of it! Of course, we might be confusing some of it with a certain character who sings “Part of Your World” — but that’s a tale for another time. Flipping through “The Bible Story” picture books, Jonah was an all-time favorite. But as we aged, we started to see ourselves mirrored in Jonah’s journey.

Nineveh’s Call and Jonah’s Flight

“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it…’ But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for Tarshish.” — Jonah 1:1–3 (NIV).

Nineveh wasn’t just any city. It was the capital of Assyria, Israel’s most formidable foe. With a reputation that would send shivers down the spine, it’s no wonder Jonah was hesitant. But aren’t we all? At times, God asks us to walk paths we’d rather not. Paths where forgiveness is required, where we’re asked to let go of something we hold dear, or even to reevaluate our financial decisions.

But like Jonah, we too sometimes find ourselves aboard ships sailing in the opposite direction from where God intends us to be. It’s a stark reminder that even when we try to escape from God’s gaze, there’s always an allure or temptation pulling us further away.

Storms of Life: God’s Wake-Up Call

“Do you think you can run away from God?” That’s a question we’ve all grappled with at one point or another. Jonah certainly tried, and look where it got him. The Lord sent a violent storm, and Jonah found himself facing the consequences of his actions, admitting his escape and suggesting he be thrown into the sea to save the others. It’s a stark reminder that even as Christians, we too falter.

Often, God might send storms our way — be it a setback at work, health concerns, or other challenges. They are not punishments but wake-up calls. Times when God might be whispering, or perhaps even shouting, “Do I have your attention now?”

Jonah’s Dilemmas: Echoes of Our Own Struggles

As life unfolded, we realized how much we could relate to Jonah:

  • Major mistakes we thought we could never come back from.
  • Moments where we let down those we loved.
  • Times we turned away from God, feeling we had ventured too far to ever return.
  • Yet, through all of this, the beacon of hope remained: the understanding that God is a God of second chances.

The Grace Beneath the Waves

Jonah’s perceived nightmare, being swallowed by a massive fish, was in fact, a divine intervention — God’s grace in its rawest form. Sometimes, the hardships we face, whether they be health issues, failures, or personal sufferings, are underlined with God’s grace, guiding us back to Him.

So, the real question is, which waves of disobedience are you riding today? From the seemingly insignificant tasks of maintaining good health to the monumental challenges of mending strained relationships or rectifying financial mistakes. It’s a journey, sometimes painful, but remember: even as we’re running away, God’s grace is always in place.