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Seeds of the Kingdom

Jonah: Part 1

by Anne Lawrence

22 September 2014

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…but Jonah, in order to get away from [the Lord], prepared to escape…
Jonah 1:3, CJB

A little while ago we had a day set aside at Ellel Grange for reading the Word of God. We read four Old Testament books in the morning and three New Testament books in the afternoon. In the morning, as I read Jonah, I began to see it in a completely new way.

The story begins with the Lord giving Jonah a job to do. It was certainly a challenging job but this was a job entrusted to him by God. How did he react? The Bible I was reading that day said that Jonah, ‘in order to get away from Adonai, prepared to escape to Tarshish.’ Wow! What a response. His first reaction was to get away from God, to escape. As I noticed this I realised that that`s what we can do. If something challenging comes our way, something too big and too hard, what do we do? We run - try to get away and escape.

We actually run from God, like Jonah did. We don’t run to Him as we should and as would be the best. We often run away. We run to our own created ‘safe’ places.
How do we do that today? Well, we have a whole host of strategies that we use. We may eat more to block it out, start working harder to avoid it, strive to please in other areas of our lives, put up smoke screens, use a load of excuses, put up brick walls around ourselves...

Jonahs’ escape route was a boat trip. In verse 3 we see that he ‘paid the fare and went aboard.’ This escape route actually cost him money. He had to pay for it.
Don’t we find often that our escape routes cost us – maybe money, maybe time, maybe pain, maybe relationships, maybe a level of freedom, maybe our health – but they cost us. They drag the situation out much longer and usually take us into more pain and difficulty than if we`d confronted the situation or obeyed in the first place.

When we run away, we`re effectively trying to come up with our own solution to the situation. God’s way seems too hard, so we do it our way. It may seem easier initially, but eventually gets harder. Pushing it down, avoiding it, covering it with an addiction or a mask, may seem a good idea for a while, but when these things begin to take over and the issue is still there, we end up worse off.

If you feel that`s you today, choose to run towards God not away. He`s kind and gentle and He loves you. As a loving Father, He wants the best for you and He knows what`s best for you. So let`s choose to go to Him and let Him help us with those difficult challenges. He`s our strong tower, our shelter, our help in times of trouble.

Prayer: Heavenly Father, I`m sorry for running away from You instead of running to You. Help me to have the courage to face You, and the problems or challenges in my life, and allow You to be my strong tower and help. Thank You that You love me. Please forgive me and help me to walk towards You. In Jesus` name, Amen.

Anne Lawrence joined the team at Ellel Grange in 2010 and is the Deputy Centre Director. She is married to Paul, Centre Director. Anne previously worked in education. Her last post was CEO of a College in Dublin. She has written courses, syllabi and a book for the English for Work series published by Longman. She has a heart for the broken and a passion to see people set free and released into more of what the Lord has for them. She loves to teach, listen, worship and create things.


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