Last time I looked at Jonah I talked about his choice to run away and escape from God when the challenge came. I talked about the cost of that.
In Jonah 1:4 we see that a ferocious storm built up around the ship Jonah was escaping in. When we`re escaping and running away, don`t we usually think that we can just run away and no one will know or be affected? It’s just my issue – it hasn’t got anything to do with anyone else. Well, with Jonah a raging storm appeared. It wasn’t just him that was affected but those around him. The sailors were affected, even though they didn’t know Jonah or anything about his story.
When we`re running away and not facing the issues in our lives, we`re often trying to contain the effects of it within ourselves and hoping that it won’t affect others. Inevitably though, it does affect others. What`s going on inside us, the strategies we use to cope and contain, affect others. They impact our relationships and can often influence our health and our finances. There was a poet called John Donne who wrote ‘no man is an island’. The Bible says, we`re a body. What we do affects those around us.
The sailors started trying to save the situation by throwing the cargo overboard, but they couldn’t do anything to save the boat. Why did their attempts not work? This is because they weren`t dealing with the real issue. They were working around what they could see. They could see the storm, they could see the waves – they couldn’t see the choices that Jonah had made before they ever met him. This is often where we`re at. We`re praying for someone, and trying to help them, but unless we know from the Lord what the cause of this problem is, we can`t help them to solve the problem. It’s no good praying that their headaches will go away if we`re not asking God to deal with the real cause of the headaches.
Finally they spoke to Jonah and discovered that he was the cause of the storm. He told them what to do. They would have to throw him overboard. This was a hard thing; a radical thing. What would people think? What would the consequences be for Jonah and themselves? If they threw him overboard he would die. They felt they couldn’t do that, so they kept trying their own methods but in the end, they had to do it.
Sometimes, when things have gone quite far down the line, the way out, the solution to the problem can seem this way. Radical, hard, scary – what will people think? But it`s the only way out. As soon as the sailors took the step – the storm ceased. The storms can take a bit longer to calm down in our lives but they do cease.
When we allow the Lord into the real issue, He will work His restoration in our lives. It may be a long journey but He`s faithful and will complete what he`s started.
Prayer: Thank You, Father, that You complete what You`ve started. Help me to be willing to look at the real issues that I`ve been trying to hide from, and allow You to heal me and restore me. Help me to make the choices that You`re asking me to make. Thank You that You`re my strength and strong tower. Amen.