Rise Up.

Did you ever not want to do something? For example, you didn’t want to go to school so you pretended to be sick. Or you decided to go to the lake instead of work so you called in that your car wasn’t working properly. The early days of my adulthood were that way. I wanted to do what I wanted to do and that didn’t include following God. So I lived a few years in the dark, making poor decisions and wrong choices.

When you read the story of Jonah, that’s just what he does. Jonah is a prophet and preacher for God in the Old Testament and God says, “Get up and go.” Jonah got up but went the opposite direction. Every decision Jonah made put him further from God (or so he thought). Notice the text in Jonah 1 says he got up and went DOWN to Joppa and got on a ship where he went DOWN into the hold. Eventually, he was thrown overboard where he went DOWN into the water and finally DOWN into the belly of a large fish. Instead of rising up to meet God, Jonah went down and went down hard. Jonah’s story reminds me of a few truths about God.

One, you can never escape God. He is always with you no matter where you go. Notice what King David says about God in Psalms 139. “I can never escape from your Spirit. I can never get away from your presence. If I go up to heaven you are there. If I go down to the grave, you are there…even in darkness I cannot hide from you.” No matter what you and I try to do, God is always present. What an incredible blessing! No matter the distance I try to put between me and my creator, he’s always there.

Two, God always wants what’s best for you, even when you don’t believe it. Jonah ran because he couldn’t believe his God would want others to be saved. He was fearful to go because he wanted the town God was hopeful for repentance to perish.

Jonah went through a difficult time because of his decision. He endured isolation, the power of the storm, and refusing his calling in life. It was a growing time for Jonah. Sometimes in my life, I’ve endured being uncomfortable, isolated, and unhappy but those were moments when God was growing me, strengthening me, and helping me become what he’d created me to be. Sometimes God will allow you to feel like Jonah in order to get your attention and grow you.

Finally, Jonah’s rebellion didn’t just effect him. His rebellion sent ripples out to effect others he touched. His own family missed him and the sailors on the boat lost cargo and felt as though they’d lose their lives. Never believe your sin is just confined to you. It effects others in your life as well.

So, what do we learn from Jonah? Realize God is with you always. He is always in pursuit of you. God wants the very best for you so follow his plan for your life. That can be found in the life of Jesus Christ. Finally, realize the choices you make, however seemingly small, affect more than just you. Lean into God. He’s got a plan for you. Trust him and discover the incredible life he has for you. Blessings on the journey.