What is Your Tarshish?
- Monday, June 26, 2006
But I fled from the presence of the LORD with the news. To be uninformed is negligent, and ignorant. Didn't you say "I would not that you should be ignorant," I don't go on the entertainment pages. It seems I should be able to read for five minutes, but then something always grabs my attention. It's not like I intentionally spend 30 minutes checking out the news. That dog that climbed trees and picked apples was quite a story. I want his pie recipe too.
But I fled from the presence of the LORD with my companion, fatigue. Yes, I stay up too, too late. I stay up doing good things. I can't help it. Cuddling with my Bible and prayer time creates the propensity to be foggy after a late night. I only flee to late nights because everyone else in the house has fled to bed. Not so sure anyway about that stuff that says one hour of sleep before midnight equals two hours of sleep. One hour of housework before midnight does not equal two hours of cleaning. Maybe my bonus hour comes at 7:00 A.M. anyway.
But I fled from the presence of the LORD not because I wanted to say no to you, like Jonah did, but because I'm busy. Our pastor said, "The biggest form of distraction is the distraction of opportunity." I've got so many opportunities, so much to do. Yes, I know Moses, David, Paul....all those guys were busy and they made time. Oh I suppose maybe I'm lazy. Maybe I'm selfish too. It's not that I don't want to spend time with you. It's not that I don't love you. And it's not like I avoid you all the time. But sometimes relationships, even with someone you love, are work. I just get disconnected. I back off a day or two then it's easy to back off more. I just want a little space for me.
"Lord, You are a part of all things I do. Yet, some days you seem far. Even then I hear You calling me. Oh, what are you trying to say? You deserve to have my ear. My heart. Maybe if I had some time to spend with you, you would tell me. Perhaps you are saying spend more time seeking you. Yield activities, desires, thoughts to your Lordship. I'm piecing it together now. I'm so busy for you, that I'm not busy with you."
When the storm came, the mariners' cried to their gods. Not Jonah. He slept. "Jonah was gone down into the sides of the ship; and he lay down and was fast asleep." The shipmaster came to him, screaming I suppose, "What meanest thou, O sleeper? Arise, call upon thy God, if so be that God will think upon us that we perish not." How many times do I get busy and "sleep" through the storms around me? What do I need to call upon you for? It's about prioritizing my relationship with you. It's about accepting your invitation with no regrets possible. It's about staying in touch with God my anchor as Hebrews 6:19 proclaims, "Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast."
"I'm really seeing the link between pride and idolatry. I run to something else because I'm running from you. Some days I want to head to Tarshish. These things I do make me feel good. And they protect my image, God. They become so important. Yes, I know you tell me to "turn away from vanities" but are these things worthless? No, housework is not worthless. Yes, it becomes worthless when it replaces you. Like Jonah who rose up to flee, and went down to Joppa, and down into the ship, I go. I go. You never left Jonah. He could not flee your presence. Psalm 139:7 tells me, "Whither shall I go from thy spirit? Or whither shall I flee from thy presence?" Jonah could not, nor can I. Please don't send a great wind. Not a walking the plank experience. Instead I ask for an obedient heart, a disciplined heart. A heart that comes to you before it hears the pulsating heartbeat of a big fish."
Marla Nowak is the mother to seven children, one adult daughter, four at home, and two with the Lord. Story time is her favorite part of the school day. She is in the tenth year of homeschooling her children, including two with Down Syndrome. She is a contributing writer for The Old Schoolhouse Magazine www.TheHomeschoolMagazine.com
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