Why do we turn and run? Is our fear greater than our faith? God promises that His plans and will for our lives is good! (Romans 8:28) He does not promise that it will be easy, however. (John 15:18-21, Matthew 16:24-25)
I believe that I turn and run because, initially, that is the easiest thing to do. I wish the easiest and most natural thing for me to do was to turn and run to Him, trust Him, and remain obedient to Him at all times...but it is not. Why? Why wouldn’t I trust the Maker of all things? (Colossians 1:16, John 1:3) Why wouldn’t I trust the One who formed me in my mother’s womb? (Psalm 139:13) Why wouldn’t I trust the I AM? (Exodus 3:14)
I know that what He has for me is good. But do I really believe that? If I did, I wouldn’t turn and run away. No, if I really believed that, I would walk in obedience and have no fear. Like Jonah, it looks like I have some soul searching to do!
Jonah was called to enter a great city and call them out for their evil against God. (v. 2) What did he do? He chose to flee from the presence of the Lord. (v. 3) Why? Because of fear. He knew that to enter this city meant that he would face persecution. To go to a foreign land and tell the people they are doing things wrong probably wouldn’t go over very well. In his mind this may have been his first thought of how things would go. It may have lead to thoughts like, “They’ll hate me” or “They’ll arrest me or kill me”. Jonah was not exhibiting faith in God. Those are anxious thoughts that we may have a natural tendency to go to. This is why it is vital to know God and the truth about Him. The more we spend time in God’s presence, meditate on His Word, and allow His Holy Spirit to fill us and guide us, the more we will trust His good and perfect will. (Romans 12:2)
Earlier I shared how “initially”, running away is the easiest thing to do. Unfortunately, it is after we start running away that we may realize this is not the right choice. There are consequences when we run. For Jonah it meant being swallowed whole by a huge fish. For all of us this will look different and so will the severity of the consequences. It is easy to blame God for all of the difficult circumstances we face...but you know what? If we will learn to run to God in every decision, dilemma or choice we make, He promises to go before us to pave the way, remaining with us every step of the way. When we trust God and experience His faithfulness again and again, we will come to realize that we have nothing to fear. (Deut. 31:8)
Today, I choose to run into His arms. Moment by moment I have to choose this. It is so easy to turn away from Him and to forget that He is always right there with me.
Jesus, kindly bring me back like the lost sheep. Thank you for leaving the 99 to draw me back to You, the Good Shepherd. (Matthew 18:12-14)