Written by Jacob Mason
Yesterday we looked at what it’s like when we have all the tools but no relationship with God, and how that can leave us stranded. Today we are going to look at what happens when we have a relationship and the tools but let our pride get in the way of the Lord’s work.
Jonah’s story will see him stranded many times, he was given a commission to go to Nineveh, but instead, he gets on a boat in the opposite direction. Many of us make this same choice every day, that person at work or school that, instead of stepping out of comfort zone and talking to them, we talk about sports, weather, anything but God. We tend to run from God…
18 Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely, I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”
- Why do we run from the topic of God, (if you don’t how can you encourage others to talk more about him and our relationship with him)?
- Think of someone you know you need to be talking about God or church but haven’t, think about the hopeless and stranded feelings they must have about life.
Jonah was stranded on this boat trying to run from God, spoiler God catches him. God creates a mighty storm. The other men on the ship are throwing things off the ship, trying everything they can to save themselves, Jonah is sleeping below deck. We make the choice to simply ignore the storms in our lives, and they continue to get worse until someone wakes us up and helps us realize that we are stuck in the storms.
We may not know what storms are happening in peoples’ lives, there are going to be things going on in the lives of our mission team, our translator team, and the kids we will work with that we may never know. They may be stranded in sin or many sins, but God is more powerful than any sin. Most of the kids we will be working with during this trip will be going through or at some point has been through a storm. While some may have relied on God a vast majority would have had to battle this storm alone. We all have felt the same fear these kids have but we may be showing them a way to fight those storms in a way they’ve never heard. You may be called to be that calming presence, you must be able to guide them, and show them how to rely on the Lord.
- What are some storms you are currently battling?
Part of this idea of stranded is for you to think about these ideas and to get yourself ready, you can’t be battling storms of your own. You must have a calm over your life to help these kids in their moments of need. This is not me asking for you to make your life perfect, but to be actively working with the Lord to calm your waters and be focused on him. Jonah would soon be stuck again this time in a much different sense of the word, but this would cause Jonah to do something we had not seen thus far.
From inside the fish, Jonah prayed to the Lord his God. 2 He said: “In my distress, I called to the Lord, and he answered me. From deep in the realm of the dead I called for help, and you listened to my cry. 3 You hurled me into the depths, into the very heart of the seas, and the currents swirled about me; all your waves and breakers swept over me. 4 I said, ‘I have been banished from your sight, yet I will look again toward your holy temple.5 The engulfing waters threatened me, the deep surrounded me; seaweed was wrapped around my head. 6 To the roots of the mountains I sank down; the earth beneath barred me in forever. But you, Lord my God, brought my life up from the pit. 7 “When my life was ebbing away, I remembered you, Lord, and my prayer rose to you, to your holy temple.8 “Those who cling to worthless idols turn away from God’s love for them. 9 But I, with shouts of grateful praise, will sacrifice to you. What I have vowed I will make good. I will say, ‘Salvation comes from the Lord.’”
What we know about Jonah during his time in the fish is he prayed to the Lord. Basically, he laid everything out to the Lord, as we start preparing for this trip, we have to stop waiting till we are stuck in the belly of the fish to go to the Lord for help.