Running Away

So, last week I just kind of jumped into this full force.  I asked myself, and you, some rather tough questions....

"Would we be willing to take God's word to our mightiest of enemies?"
"Would we follow God's calling no matter where it led?"
"Would we go no matter how scarry it may seem?"

I started here primarily because it's where I was as I began studying the first chapter of Jonah. I couldn't help but question myself as to whether or not I would follow in the same type of situation. Would I go to such an evil city and share God's word, or would I be so scared to follow that I would run in the complete opposite direction facing other fears along the way?

In the first three verses of the book of Jonah, we find God speaking to Jonah regarding the journey to Ninevah.

The Lord said to Jonah son of Amittai, "Go immediately to Nineveh, that large capital city, and announce judgment against its people because their wickedness has come to my attention." Instead, Jonah immediately headed off to Tarshish to escape from the commission of the Lord. He traveled to Joppa and found a merchant ship heading to Tarshish. So he paid the fare and went aboard it to go with them to Tarshish far away from the Lord. Jonah 1:1-3

A few interesting tidbits I found as I studied these verses.....

  • In the Hebrew, God is literally commanding Jonah to "arise".  However, if we read in the King James translation of Jonah 1:3, we find that Jonah "rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord."  That's right, Jonah did "rise up" as God commanded, but he rises up to then go DOWN to Joppa and DOWN into the boat.  The words paint a good picture of the situation, don't they?
  • For an Israelite, Joppa represented the edge of the earth.  Additionally, many people of this time were fearful of the sea.  So, for Jonah to run to Joppa and then to also get on a boat showed the total deperation and desire to escape that was felt by Jonah.
As I read it struck me for the first time how completely desperate Jonah was to do ANYTHING if it meant he wouldn't wind up in Ninevah.  Oh, I realized he wanted nothing to do with Ninevah, but he faced some pretty big fears in where and how he chose to run, as well.  That was the part that I really hadn't thought about previously

I keep going over that in my mind.  So afraid to follow God as to be willing to face other fears. 

Fears that are completely unnecessary to face if I follow God. 

Fears that are completely unnecessary to face if I trust God and believe that he only has my best interests in mind.

If I truly believe the words of Jeremiah 29:11, do I turn the opposite direction and run as far away as I can get from God?

For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.  Jeremiah 29:11

I can't tell you how often this has replayed in my mind over the last week or so.  We humans tend to not react completely rationally when we are scared.  Therefore, it is possible that I would run away from God and wind up facing fears that are alot bigger than where God is leading.
The one thing I keep coming back to over and over and over again, though, is this.....  if I believe all that I say I believe about God, and if I fully trust that He means what He says, then I will follow regardless. 

If I have a relationship with Him and keep Him as my priority, then I won't question and I won't risk falling prey to those very human tendencies to run away.  I will follow. 

Yes, I will probably be scared and there is a good chance that in the beginning I won't want any part of it.

But, if it is God leading, then He will show the way, he will carry the fears and the worries, and He will lead me to where I should go.  He will guide me and direct me and show me the joys to be had by making the journey.

4 Thoughts Shared:

Kristi said...

Melanie, that was an amazing post. I love your honesty and I am confident that God will bless your fierce love and obedience to Him.

Last year was the scariest year of our lives with Rachel...we absolutely did not know what God was going to do. But, it was the BEST year too and we are still marveling at all that He taught us and all that He did. He is the Faithful One and when you are completely in His hands, there is no better place to be.

Shelby said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. I needed the reminder of the Jeremiah verse in this context. THANK YOU.

You are so wise and so open to Him and to understanding the Word.

Anonymous said...

If you can, you can.......................................................

Meredith said...

Thank you for asking some hard questions. I Will enjoy following along with you and Jonah on this adventure.