This past weekend was Fourth of July weekend for us Americans. Whenever we think about Fourth of July we of course think about our freedom and those that have given their lives for us to have this freedom. We all should be very thankful for the freedom that we have; the place that we are able to live, the people that we are able to enjoy life with, the places we are able to worship freely, all the things that we are able to do because of this freedom.
Another freedom that we have is called free will. God gave us this free will to choose what we will do with our lives. Our jobs, our families, where we live: all of these things are free will to choose along with what we choose to put our faith in.
This week at church we talked about Jonah. And we also talked about how Jonah decided to run from God. He tried to run from God but what he was actually doing was trying to run from the call of God. And we realize through the story of Jonah that we can try to run from God and we can try to run from God’s call in our lives but ultimately it catches up with us and we have nowhere else to run.
God told Jonah that he was to go to Nineveh, inform them that they needed to repent, that they need to change their ways. Jonah just didn’t want to do it. God instructed Jonah to go to Nineveh and instead of obeying, he goes the complete opposite way as fast as he can. Jonah gets himself into a lot of trouble because he ends up on the ship with other sailors who while they are out on the water, experience a storm. They cast lots to figure out who’s fault it is because they know that there’s a storm going on because of somebody on the ship. They are completely aware that somebody has made their god angry and this storm is a result of that. Jonah is coincidentally asleep below deck at this point. They go down and say “hey why don’t you get your God to help us get out of this mess?”
When they cast lots and the lot falls on Jonah they ask him what is it he has done to make this happen? Then things really get awkward. They ask him essentially “what should we do to you?” And it’s this point that Jonah realizes that he has messed up.
God finds a way to get our attention. Jonah learned it the hard way. He became a whale snack.
We run from a lot of people and situations in life. Some of them we feel we have to run from for mere survival. Many of us run from the call of God. We think we are running away from God, but he is already wherever we are trying to go. We really are running from His call.
It’s ok. You need to know it’s ok. It’s scary to feel that movement. It’s uncomfortable to know that God is calling us to do something that’s not easy for us. But don’t run. Embrace the fact that the Creator is requesting you take part in His kingdom. Also know that we as the church support one another. We should build one another up as each person responds to the call of God in their lives.
No matter how terrifying, satisfying, gratifying, or any other -fying the call of God may be in your life, we are here for and with you. Most importantly, so is God.