Running Away

Read: Jonah 1-4

The story of Jonah is one that most people are fairly familiar with. A raging sea, a huge whale, a man overboard, those are the images that come to mind when we think of this story. But there is much more to the story than what the children’s story books often tell. This is a story about a man who was not only running away from God but was also resisting God. Does the story of Jonah remind us of ourselves sometimes?

When we are fearful, proud, and selfish, it becomes much too easy to run away from the things that God is calling us to. In his book “When No One’s Looking” Pastor Bill Hybels writes, “Every single day we make choices that show whether we are courageous or cowardly. We choose between the right thing and the convenient thing, sticking to a conviction or caving in for the sake of comfort, greed or approval. We choose either to take a carefully thought-out risk or to crawl into a shrinking shell of safety, security and inactivity. We choose either to believe in God and trust him, even when we do not always understand his ways, or to second-guess him and cower in the corners of doubt and fear.”

This past week I ran across a graphic that said, “The phrase “Do not be afraid” is written in the Bible 365 times.” I have not personally gone through my Bible and counted those but I believe it. It seems like you read that phrase so often as you read through the Scriptures. It reminds us that each and every day (365) God will be with us in what he calls us to do.

When we run away from those things we find ourselves in danger. It may not include a whale in the sea but it could be a place we don’t want to be. The best path is to run with God and not away from Him. He will be with us and He will protect us, we do not need to be afraid. The amazing thing about the God who created us is that He loves us so much he wants to pursue us and find us even when we run the other way.

In the end Jonah was partly responsible for the repentance of the huge city of Nineveh. You never know what God may be ready to use you for in His kingdom. Be ready, Be willing, and Be available! You won’t regret running with the Lord!

Make it personal: What things have you been running away from recently? Are they things that God has been wanting you to do, say, or change? Listen to His voice and follow him instead of running in the other direction. Running away from God only puts your further from Him, that is a place we don’t want to be.

Have a wonderful week, Glen Rhodes, Arthur Mennonite Church
Do Not Be Afraid