I recently spent a month in Australia—away from my family, across the world. It was a tough time for me. Satan had a field day, tempting me in several ways. I often felt like Jonah in today’s passage, calling out to the Lord in distress.
Jonah and I were in different spots. His struggles and loneliness came from his running from the Lord’s call. Mine came from a work and study trip. Jonah knew God was sovereign, but he also knew he was on the boat because of disobedience, avoiding God’s call for him to go to Nineveh. So he jumped overboard rather than facing the God he was running from. He took his chances in the open sea rather than turning his eyes to the heavens.
Jonah feared the uncontrollable. I was no different while on my trip, and even today. So often I find myself trying to white-knuckle it, trying to convince myself to simply feel better. I try to take things into my own hands, just like Jonah. And like me, Jonah didn’t turn to God, the only One who can give any of us true rest.
It’s easy to judge Jonah. We pretend as though we’d answer the Lord’s call and go wherever He called us to go. But I know in my own life, I’m often just like the runaway prophet.
Every one of us is in the same spot as Jonah. We all need the Lord every day, and yet we often run from Him, jumping into the sea instead of lifting our eyes to the heavens. But if, like Jonah, we call out to the Lord, He will answer. God doesn’t ignore our cries for help. He doesn’t tell us to ask someone else to fix our desperate situations. He hears our cries and proves Himself faithful. “Therefore, let us approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).
What in your life feels like the storm that rocked Jonah’s boat? In what ways have you jumped overboard, choosing the chaos of the sea over the peace of heaven? Call on the Lord. Lift your eyes and approach Him with assurance. He stands ready to bring you to dry land.
Written by Brandon D. Smith