I have known what it means and even, what it feels like to obey the Lord even when it was really really hard. Because I have felt that, and because some of you may have never been presented with the challenge to obey Him even when it means letting go of things you hold very near, I needed to share with you what the outsider view of disobeying the Lord, actually looks like.
It’s different from what we see when we are in the act of disobeying God. And sometimes, you need to see what is at the end of the tunnel before you have enough willpower and drive to walk the rest of the way to get out of the tunnel.
I think Jonah 1 gives a great picture to go off of.
This is a pretty well-known story, the fact that there is a whole Veggie Tales movie about Jonah means that it is one talked about very often. But, as I was reading it this week, I was reading it under the lens of disobedience and the “telltale signs” of a disobedient person and their actions.
I had never noticed that in verses 3-5, that Jonah was able to rest (very easily I might add) even while knowing he was disobeying the Lord. While this may not be the case in every disobedient action. But ask this of yourself, when you disobey God because you want to do something else instead or when you sin and decide to keep o sinning, are you able to rest in the fact that whatever you are doing makes you happier than the alternative? Sometimes I think that we are able to rest, even when we know we are being disobedient to the Lord, simply because what we are doing is making the earthly side of us content and happy.
I have found this true in my own life. If I felt like the Lord was calling me to do something, like go up to someone and comfort them, I would feel very uncomfortable doing that and was more “happy” to get the class on time. It would get to the point where I would walk past that person, get to class, and think “wow I am so glad I didn’t stop because I am only three minutes early and that could have made me late.” It’s as if I am trying to overcompensate y feeling of guilt with reasonable thinking.
In more extreme cases, if I knew that my actions were against God’s plan for my life and I decided to keep on doing them, I would maybe say, “well this makes me happy and it’s not causing any harm”. Or even, “Well, this fills me with self-worth and I need that right now.” But the wrong thinking in that is, it may make you happy now and may not be causing harm now… but give it a few weeks and you bet there will be some harm. Because disobeying God never leads to overflowing cups and paradise, disobeying God always leads to desolation and destruction. You may feel a sense of self-worth in this disobedience but it will end and fade, just like the last one did, and the next one will do.
Going further into Jonah 1, in the next few verses, this large storm starts and the others on the boat attempt to find Jonah to see if he can make the storm stop. They find him sleeping are amazes that he could sleep during this time. While this hasn’t stuck out to me the hundreds of time I have read this passage before, it did now.
When we live in disobedience, we are out of tune and out of step with the world and people around us. The relationships we have, seen “off.” Jonah should not have been able to sleep in this time. The people he was close to, were freaking out while he was downstairs sleeping. Doesn’t seem to line up, right? The same is true of a person acting in disobedience. While it may not be as clear of the picture in Jonah 1, it is still true of us. It is almost as if we become one step removed of what is happening in the lives of people around us. And as Christians, this means that we would still go to church events, small groups, and services and feel connected yet disconnected and unaffected by what is happening in those gatherings. So, while this disobedience may not seem to affect you or your peers in a negative way, look again because your relationships are taking the hit.
One Jonah is woken up and asked to pray and ask for the storm to cease, I noticed how ironic this part of the story really was. God asked Jonah to complete a task for him, to go to the Nineveh people and speak to them, but Jonah said no. Now we are at the part where Jonah needs the help of God. So often we call unto the Lord and expect him to always, no matter what, answer, but how often are you called on to by the Lord and never answer? Or look away? Sometimes even go the opposite direction? Luckily for you, for me, and even for Jonah, God is an overwhelmingly loving God and doesn’t act as humans act. If he did, the second we decided to turn our backs on him, he would do the same to us. But He doesn’t! And that’s the biggest thing in this account of Jonah.
God was chasing after him the whole time. It’s why the storm came in the first place, it’s why Jonah was thrown overboard and swallowed by the whale. God needed to get ahold of Jonah (in solitude) in order to speak to him and get ahold of his son’s heart again. God wasn’t just going to allow Jonah to disobey him and run away from home. If Jonah wasn’t going to come home, God was going to bring “home” to Jonah.” God wanted his son back… and he wants you back. All of creation is calling out to you to return. God isn’t just going to give up on you and pick someone else. He wants you and deep down, I know you want him as well.
XOXO, The Christian Prepster