You can run but you can't hide!
Good Morning! The story of Jonah has a lot of layers and lessons that I never recognized before. Since our church is doing the Sermons this summer based off of Jonah and my next Challenge Group, Bad Habits Overboard, is using a devotional about Jonah, I have been in deep waters :) I've listened to podcasts, online sermons, read the book and our church Compass and done the beginning devotion since today starts our Introduction week for our group. Jonah knew what he was supposed to do and he ran the other way. How often have we done that? We may not want to admit how many times! Sometimes we rationalize or go into denial or deter or put it on the back burner....but essentially we are running! To me, the closer I get to God, the more I feel His Spirit gently prodding and here is yet another example of why it just pays off to listen and obey the first time! God doesn't give up on us and He doesn't choose someone else to focus on instead, if we choose to run away! He is there to call us back onto the path and give us what we need to get there, just like Jonah. One part of the story that I never really took into account was the part our pastor pointed out......The city of Nineveh was evil and God was actually against that city. "Many people in the world today ignore God and assume that he also ignores them. Many believe that God set the world into motion and allows it to continue along unnoticed. This text portrays God as one who notices, as a God who is active, and as a God who takes sin seriously" Why in the world would God want Jonah to go Nineveh so much that he would persist with him, taking him through a giant fish's belly and putting him back on the road despite Jonah's disobedience? God loves so much and He has so much mercy and grace that He even will go after an evil city with a disobedient prophet and persist in getting them back. I never looked at this story before from the standpoint of how much God loves. I always saw it from the standpoint of how Jonah didn't "get it" but when I look at God here, I am so blown away, tears are even coming to my eyes as I write this. He will always want us. He will always persist with us. He will always want us close to Him. EVEN IF we are so messed up that we've ignored Him and feel unworthy and feel unlovable. I know I can apply this to my life in different ways. I will be highlighting in our Challenge Group that even running from health by ignoring it or choosing to go into gluttony is a futile destiny. We honor God with our bodies and we need to be taking care of His temple. Our pastor talked about how when God asked Jonah to go to Nineveh, it was like going to the desert where it was not beautiful and not lush. What did Jonah do? He went toward Joppa, a city where is was lush and tropical and easy. How many times do we run from what's hard and go the opposite way toward something that looks and feels easy. I laugh at the visual I have of a plate of vegetables being Nineveh and a plate of desserts as being Joppa. Hahaha :) We might as well realize that when God is guiding and leading, we just need to obey and go. Pretty soon the plate of vegetables is what you want more than the desserts! I can testify to that! :) Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. Ephesians 4:20 By the power of God, let's start the journey toward what He has asked in whatever area is popping into your head. He is able to work within us! Amazing! jennie