The Life of Jonah

Why are you running away from your shadow? There’s a funny GIF I saw of a young girl running away from her shadow and looking back to see if it was still there. The young girl couldn’t realize that no matter how much she ran, the shadow was right behind her. While it’s easy to laugh at a toddler, how many of us are actually running away from the person God has called us to be?

“Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the son of Amittai,” (Jonah 1:1)

When Jonah heard God’s call he fled away in the opposite direction, instead of going to Nineveh he went to Tarshish, and hid in the bottom of the ship. What’s interesting is that Jonah wasn’t running away from the city or the people. The verse says,

“Jonah arose to flee to Tarshish, from the presence of the Lord.” (Jonah 1:3)

As it turns out, God found Jonah in his runaway act and redirected his route via a first-class ticket in the ocean express: a big fish. Did it really have to take all of that for Jonah to have known better. As a prophet of God, Jonah should have remembered David’s psalm:

“Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence?” (Psalm 139:7)

Running away is hard, especially if you are running away from God’s calling. Like the young girl running away from her shadow, sometimes we are afraid of how big our shadows are. It could be that God’s calling you to something bigger than yourself; to stand out from the crowd, to make a mark on the world, to use your talents and gifts to accomplish something that’s never been done before. You cannot deny it because you’re still running, afraid to look at God’s reflection of the person you’re destined to be. Take a clue from Jonah, it doesn’t work. Take a hint from the young girl, it only makes you look silly to run away from yourself. So, stop running.

“Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, ‘Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and call out against it the message That I tell you.’ So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord.” (Jonah 3:1-3a)

God has called you. God has chosen you. God wants you.

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