I think we are all Jonah sometimes. I know I am. What about you? Have you ever felt that God was telling you what to do? Jonah did. Jonah felt God’s call, but he was afraid. Jonah chapter one verses one through three says,
“The word of the Lord came to Jonah son of Amittai: “Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, because its wickedness has come up before me.”
“But Jonah ran away from the Lord and headed for 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.”
Jonah ran from the Lord. We do that sometimes. Now, we may not get on a boat and sail to a distant country, but we do run from God. Some of us would rather not know what God wants than know what He wants and it to be something difficult. We want life to be comfortable; we tune out God’s voice so we can say, “I don’t know what God wants.” That is running away from God.
Now, Jonah was running from God; that’s when the sea got rough. If you run from God the sea will get rough. I’m not just talking about a literal sea, I mean life. Life is gonna get rough.
Now, once this happened, Jonah told the men to throw him overboard. Jonah chapter one verse fifteen says,
“Then they took Jonah and threw him overboard, and the raging sea grew calm. But the Lord provided a great fish to swallow Jonah, and Jonah was inside the fish three days and three nights.”
Jonah prayed to the Lord before the fish spit him out. He prayed for three days. Not for three minutes, nor three hours, but three days. He didn’t get immediate results, and as you can see later in his story, neither did he get preferred results. Don’t go to God expecting things to happen how you want it and when you want it. God works in His own ways, and on His own time. Pray faithfully, and trust God that things will go His way, which is best.
Three days in the belly of a fish. I’ve never been in the belly of a giant fish, but it is not on my list of places I would like to visit someday. It’s a bad place. Are you in the belly of a fish? Are you in a bad place in life? Did you get there by running from God? Do you want to turn your life around, and be close to God again? If so, follow these four steps:
Step one: repent.
Jonah repented on the boat, and was willing to pay the punishment for what he did.
Step two: pray.
When Jonah was in the belly of the fish, he prayed for three days. God may answer you in one day or in one year. Either way, pray faithfully, and often.
Step three: trust God’s judgment.
This is where Jonah messed up. After he went to Nineveh, the people changed, so God spared them, but Jonah thought they should be destroyed. He trusted his own judgement over God’s. In the end, God was right, and he was wrong. God’s judgement is better than yours, so trust His.
Step four: listen next time.
Don’t tune out God’s voice; listen to what He says. If you believe that God is supreme, should you not take advice from Him? Do you want purpose in your life? God is the only one who can give you purpose. If you want purpose, obey. Before you can obey, you must know what God wants, and to know what God wants, you must listen, and to listen you must desire to, and if you love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength, you will desire to listen.
It all goes back to the greatest commandment. Love God, and in the end, you’ll be with Him in heaven.