Jonah 1:1-17, Psalm 104:24-26, Matthew 12:38-42
I once had a job that started at 4:30am. Imagine how early I had to set my alarm so I could have enough time to get up, get dressed, and get to work. It was early! I genuinely hated my job. Working there was taking me in a direction I did not want to go. Every time my alarm went off, I wanted nothing more than to hit snooze, roll over, and go back to sleep.
In the story of Jonah, God was like an alarm clock telling Jonah to get up and go to work. Jonah didn’t want to go. And he didn’t just choose to hit the snooze button; he decided not to show up at all. In fact, he tried to run as far away from the job as he could.
When Jonah hopped on a boat to escape God and dodge the call to preach to Nineveh, a violent storm nearly sank his getaway vehicle. As this great storm threatened to destroy the ship, Jonah was sleeping so deeply he wasn’t even phased by the storm. How in the world was Jonah so dead asleep? Though we’d be guessing, of course, it’s possible Jonah was actively avoiding God’s call even in his sleep. Often we sleep not only because we’re tired, but because we’re trying to shut ourselves down completely—physically, spiritually, and relationally. God was calling Jonah to wake up to the needs of the people God asked him to serve. This was what Jonah was trying to sleep through—not just the storm.
Jonah did not want to obey God’s command to do the work he was called and equipped to do. As with other reluctant servants in Scripture, it’s easy to scoff at Jonah for being disobedient. But let’s be honest for a minute, friends. How many of us have been instructed by God to “get up” and go do something? How many of us, like Jonah, think we can escape not only the call on our lives, but also the presence of the One who calls us?
In Jonah’s story, we see there is no getaway vehicle that can outrun God’s faithful presence. The gospel of Jesus tells believers that though we may run from God, He faithfully chases us with His grace.
When we find ourselves hitting the snooze button on God’s alarm clock, perhaps it’s time to wake up. Perhaps it’s time to trust in the One calling us, and go where we believe He’s sending us. Even in our disobedience, we will never be able to outrun the steadfast, constant, and gracious love of God that strengthens us.
Written by Jevon Washington