Tuesday, April 3, 2012
"So the shipmaster came to him, and said unto him, What meanest thou, O sleeper? arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us, that we perish not." Jonah 1:6 In this part of Jonah's story, he is trying to run away from God. I am not sure how you do that, but I think that we all try it some time in our lives. God asked him to do something really hard... preach to a huge city and tell them that they needed to repent. I think if God asked me to go stand in Times Square and tell everyone to repent, I would be terrified as well. At this point in the story, Jonah is in a ship, trying to escape. And a great storm comes up and the people in the ship think that they are going to die. So, the captain wakes him up and asks him to pray. I think at this point, waking up, is when Jonah realizes that it is impossible to avoid God. It probably would have been just as easy for God to just let Jonah go, and called someone else to do what he asked. But he cared about Jonah enough to remind him that they needed to talk it out... not to bully him into doing something he didn't want to do, but to teach him perhaps that you can't just run away from your problems, and show him that God always knows what he is talking about. We often act as Jonah did. We physically run away from God by walking away from a situation where we know he wants us to do something. We mentally try to escape by busying ourselves with other things and trying to ignore God waiting patiently there in the background. Sometimes we can block him out temporarily, and with a concerted effort we can probably deaden our own senses enough that we stop hearing anything spiritual at all... but all to our own detriment, and pretty pointlessly as well, since no matter how much we desensitize ourselves, we still know that God is there, waiting for us to accept his invitation to talk about it. Today... let's stop running and listen. It's better to talk it out and ask God to help us overcome our fears than it is to try to block out the sun.