But Jonah got up and went in the opposite direction in order to get away from the LORD. He went down to the seacoast, to the port of Joppa, where he found a ship leaving for Tarshish. He bought a ticket and went on board, hoping that by going away to the west he could escape from the LORD. - Jonah 1:3
You can be a believer and still find yourself running away from the Lord. The problem is, when you run in the wrong direction, others often get drawn into the repercussions of your disobedience. In Jonah’s case, the sailors got caught up in the drama. As Jonah tried to escape God, God sent a storm to stop him. The storm was so severe that the ship’s crew lost all of their cargo and feared for their lives (Jonah 1:5). Jonah under- stood that he had put them in danger because he was running away from the Lord (Jonah 1:10). You never live or die only to yourself; your actions always affect others.
Just as the sailors watched Jonah, people watch us and don’t appreciate it when we let them down. Years ago I had a boyfriend who didn’t know Christ. I ran in the opposite direction. I stopped going to church for a time and avoided my Christian friends. But I found, like Jonah, that I could escape my friends but I couldn’t escape God. It didn’t do me a bit of good boarding the ship of escapism, for it foundered in the waves of God’s Word! I had to live a life of obedience again—which for me included giving up the boyfriend. Then I offered songs of praise and vowed to go the right direction—God’s way. Perhaps God has given you a clear assignment, but you are running in the opposite direction. Don’t do it! God desires only your good. Just follow his direction.
For Further Study: Jonah 1:1-17
Excerpted from The One Year Devotions for Women, Copyright ©2000 by Jill Briscoe. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.
For more from Jill Briscoe, please visit TellingtheTruth.org.