Running from God never ends well. He’s faster than you.Jordansmith.blog
Have you ever ran away from God? You know those corners of your mind you just block off. You avoid the internal conversation and nudging of the Holy Spirit because you know good and well what He wants you to do and most of all, that you don’t want to do it.
You’ll be happy to know, you’re not the only one. Jonah, a literal prophet of God, ran away too. Physically tried to escape the presence of God by fleeing on a boat. It’s kind of comical actually. A man who knows God well enough to be His mouthpiece, thinks that there is place on God’s created earth that he can actually get away from Him.
Spoiler alert: it did not go well.
Jonah gets a message from the Lord to go to Ninevah, which was one of Israel’s greatest advisaries. To put it into perspective, it is literally today’s Iraq. They hated Jonah’s people and were very violent, sinful people. They were not friends of God, or obedient to anything in His Word. So Jonah runs.
He gets on the boat, a huge storm rages, the other men throw Jonah into the sea to appease an angry ocean. And as Jonah begins to drown, the Bible says this:
“ Now the Lord had prepared (appointed, destined) a great fish to swallow Jonah. And Jonah was in the stomach of the fish three days and three nights.” Jonah 1:17(AMP)
I remember reading this story as a little girl thinking the fish was Jonah’s punishment for sinning against God. Like it was an intense three day session of time out. But that’s not what God was doing here at all.
Because God prepared that fish long before Jonah ran away. Scholars have actually researched fish to try to figure out what it was that swallowed Jonah. They determined that there is no fish alive or extinct, to our knowledge, that is large enough internally to swallow a man whole without killing or chewing him up. This fish was one of a kind. God-crafted just for Jonah.
Not as punishment, but as preservation. Jonah would have drowned without that fish. Running from God would have been the last thing he ever did. But God destined a way out of Jonah’s own mess. And after three days, the fish released Jonah onto dry land.
Punishment would have left Jonah in the fish. But instead, God used this fish to transport Jonah from a boat in the middle of the ocean, back to dry land. That fish was God’s mercy. It was His love that chases after us day after day.
“Surely goodness and mercy and unfailing love shall follow me all the days of my life, And I shall dwell forever [throughout all my days] in the house and in the presence of the LORD.” Psalm 23:6(AMP)
Don’t be too hard on Jonah, we’re all runners. All the way back to when Adam and Eve tried hiding from God in the garden,(Gen. 3:10) we have been trying to escape a loving and safe God.
Ever since then, God has been appointing, and preparing an escape plan for our own messes. He has been relentless in His pursuit of us.
“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth.” Matthew 12:40(AMP)
Just like God prepared a fish as a way out of his own mess for Jonah, God prepared a way out of our sin long before we were even born, in Jesus.
God knew your character when He called you to whatever it is you have been running from. He knew your situation, your resources, your weaknesses. All the issues you can’t seem to see a way through, He saw.
We do not get a calling-free pass just because we are flawed. He made a way around all that long before we fell down.
You are responsible for your calling even if you’re running.
God is not punishing you, and you can stop running. He is setting you up, taking you to a new place, saving you from your own ruin. He is making a way where there was no way.
He’s made a way through Jesus. He is a safe place. His love and mercy hunt us down. They don’t let up, they don’t tire out. And there is no place you can go, that He can not reach.
He loves you. You can stop running. You’re safe in Jesus.