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“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 1:3 NIV)”

Everyone runs from God.

I spent my 20’s running from God.  Raised in church, I can’t remember not knowing God.  After my Dad died when I was 16, I decided I needed a break from God.  After all, He took my Dad from me; why would I want a God like that.  That period was the darkest of my life.  Not only did I alienate God, I alienated my friends and family as well.  My despair so great at losing my earthly father, I became irrational.  If I wasn’t close to anyone, I couldn’t get hurt, but that was a lie.  We are all made for community,  even me.

Jonah was running from God for a different reason.  God gave Him a mission He didn’t want to complete.  Just like cleaning the bathroom, this job wasn’t pleasant.  God wanted Him to go to a people Jonah despised and give them a chance to repent.  Jonah knew if they had an opportunity to turn back to God, they would.  He didn’t feel they deserved God’s grace and mercy, so he decided to run away from God.  Jonah’s problem is the same as ours.  We might run from God, but God doesn’t run from us.

You can’t outrun God.

No matter where you go, God is with you:

“You know when I sit and when I rise;

  you perceive my thoughts from afar. 

You discern my going out and my lying down;

    you are familiar with all my ways. 

Before a word is on my tongue

    you, Lord, know it completely. 

You hem me in behind and before,

    and you lay your hand upon me.” 

(Psalm 139:2-4 NIV)

God is always present in each of our lives.  He promises over and over again in His word; He will never leave us nor forsake us.  Running from Him is as futile for us as it was Jonah.  We end up in the belly of the whale, just like Jonah did.

The belly of my whale was rock bottom.  After alienating everyone in my life, I woke up one day all alone.  When I reached out to a friend, she pointed me back to Jesus.   A new journey with God started that day, one I’m still traveling.  As I looked back over that dark period, I saw God’s hand in my life.  I left Him, but He never left me.

Stop running today.  Turn back to God.  Whatever He’s nudging you to do, just do it.  Like Jonah, it’s the only way you will find peace.

Question of the Day:

What is God nudging you to do today?

Further Reading:Jonah 1:1-4:11 NIV, Revelation 5 NIV, Psalm 133:1-3 NIV, Proverbs 29:26-27 NIV

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