Why do you run from God? What has he told you to do that you’re trying to ignore? When God tells you to do something it’s never for your benefit alone. It’s for the benefit of others. His discipline for your disobedience affects other people too. This storm you’re in could be one of your own choosing. It threatens the lives of those in the boat with you. They may not believe in God, they may not trust you, but those people are desperately trying to keep you afloat because your life affects theirs. Your bad choice costs them something. You may think the storm can’t get any worse. You’re wrong. Step out of the boat and find out. You could be living in a big fish.
Jonah 1:11-12, “And since the storm was getting worse all the time, they asked him, ‘What should we do to you to stop this storm?’ ‘Throw me into the sea,’ Jonah said, ‘and it will become calm again. I know that this terrible storm is all my fault.’
Would you rather die than obey God? Jonah wasn’t looking for a ride on the cruise ship Shark Bait. The story never says God wanted Jonah thrown into the sea. That was Jonah’s answer. The other men on the ship tried to row to shore, but sideways wasn’t the direction God wanted for Jonah. Jonah needed to repent. He needed to go back. He needed to simply obey. I wonder what would have happened if Jonah had answered their question differently. What if he would have said, “Turn this ship around. I’m going to Nineveh.” I’ll bet this tale wouldn’t be quite so fishy.
Your complicated solution to the problem won’t work. If your brilliant plan doesn’t involve simple obedience you’re not as clever as you think. Your desperate attempt to punish yourself will fail. Your last-ditch effort to ignore God will lead you to someplace even worse. Why not take the simple way out? Why not relent? Why not give in? Why not just turn around. Why not simply obey?
God’s going to get you where he wants you. He will accomplish his purpose in you, through you and sometimes even in spite of you. To a large degree, how you get there is up to you. What has God told you to do and where are you in the story? Are you about to run? Are you asleep on the boat? Is it beginning to rain? Are you in over your head? Are you living in a big fish?
Turn around. Simply obey.
Thank you for loving me enough to discipline when I’m headed the wrong way. Thank you that your discipline, difficult as it may be, is still often softer than the guilt, shame and punishment I put myself through. Help me to clearly hear your voice. Get me out of this fish I’m in. Give me a heart that is soft to your will. I don’t want to run ahead of you or lag behind. I want to walk with you, go wherever you lead, and do whatever you ask me to do. When I’m wrong grant me the gift of repentance. Let me turn around before the storm comes. Let me get things right before I’m thrown off the boat. Let me choose wisely for your glory, my benefit and the good of others. Protect my family and friends from the effects of my bad choices. Thank you for surrounding me with people who love me and who try to keep me afloat when things get rough. Help me to listen to them and to you.
I love you, in Jesus name –