Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Running away?

Grand Sweep Daily Reading: Jonah 1, 2, 3, 4

Jonah 1:1-3 (NIV)

1 The Word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: 2 “Go to the great city of Ninevah and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.” 3 But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed from Tarshish. He went down to Joppa, where he found a ship bound for that port. After paying the fare, he went aboard and sailed for Tarshish to flee from the Lord.”

Good morning!

Pack your running shoes! Let’s just see how fast you can fly. After all, you’ve just been called by God to make a difference in the world around you, and what He has asked you to do sounds crazy, sadistic, and seemingly impossible! “God, you can’t be calling me.” “You want me to do what?” Several years ago, Comedian Bill Cosby recorded and performed a short skit in which God and Noah had a conversation relating to call. I laughed hysterically the first time I watched Cosby perform this piece on television. Hysterical laughter is a great stress reliever and a cover for the uncomfortable rumblings we feel rising up from the pit of our stomachs. We know when God calls us to act. Yet, we look for ways to do just about anything else except that one thing. Hearing God’s call is kind of like having a baby. A woman waits nine months to give birth and wonders every time she feels a pain, whether she should head to the hospital. But when the actual labor begins, there is absolutely no doubt that something big is getting ready to be birthed. Have you ever tried run away from God? Some say that the book of Jonah is a whale of a story, but I’m here to tell you, this is as real as it gets.

I’ve spent many days running in the opposite direction of the Lord. I’ve never found a pair of running shoes that could carry me faster than my Lord could fly. Sometimes in an open and utter rebellion, I would have rather eaten a can of worms than answer His call. And there are times when I did just that. So why do we feel compelled to run away from God’s call upon our life?

When my children were young, I used to ask them, “What do you want to be when you grow up?” My babies had high aspirations. Rachel wanted to be a mommy. Benjamin wanted to be a trash collector. David wanted to be E.T. “The Extra Terrestrial.” A mother, an alien and a waste removal engineer, my children were pursuing an interesting career path. Isn’t it strange that none of them raised their hands and said, “I want to be a Prophet when I grow up!” Why not a prophet? After all, it is a noble calling. Prophets hear and speak the Word of God, while people seek them out to publicly humiliate them for being faithful and true to the call. Many prophets live a life of public rejection, having very few friends whom they can count on. They spend their days eating wild locusts and honey while trying to catch a cat nap in a dark secluded cave. They recognize that God’s Word must be proclaimed at all costs, even if it means losing their own life in the process. It’s no wonder Jonah ran away. Do you run in the opposite direction when God calls you?

God may be calling you to tell others about what He has done in your life. You may find faith sharing to be extremely difficult. Wondering if you might offend another person by stepping on their toes, we choose to keep silent rather than say something that might place us in relational jeopardy. If God is calling you to share Christ with your neighbor, ask Him to give you His spirit of boldness, to say the words that He would have you say. When God calls, He makes a way for you. An opportunity will arise – something will happen that will give you a chance to say what is on your heart. There are lots of really wonderful, moral and upright folks out there, loving others while respecting their space, offering assistance, and showing kindness to the world around them. There are lots of good people who do not believe in Jesus Christ. At some point, Christians must say why they do what it is they do. It is only in telling Christ’s story that we can spread the salvation message to the world, while obeying His Word in our daily walk.

When we run away from God, whether it is from fear of the unknown to inexplicable, open rebellion, we are going to get swallowed up in the belly of a whale, just like our friend Jonah. Separation from God is a painful thing. He may be calling you to something you do not feel equipped to do. Ask Him to help you today. God will give you the strength, grace and perseverance to go the distance, walking with you, every step of the way. Jesus promised to be with us always, even to the end of the age. And that’s a promise we can count on.

Grace and peace,

Deb Spaulding


Pray for: greater faith! If the Lord calls you to it, He will see you through it, every step of the way. It’s time to put your running shoes away.


© Copyright 2007, Deb Spaulding

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