08
Feb
10

A “but-load” of problems


Thwangg! The spear vibrated violently in the wall; Saul had hurled it with the intent to pin his adversary.  Where Saul failed, Yahweh did not!  The God of heaven hurled a great wind upon the sea, pinning Jonah to the deck of a Tarshish-bound boat.

What is the deal here?  How did the prophet find himself on the wrong end of a violent easterly?  There is a good chance that you know, even if the details of this particular story are unfamiliar to you.  Read on and see if you haven’t experienced the same thing.

Yahweh had commissioned the Jewish prophet Jonah to go to the chief city of Assyria (Israel’s enemy!) and announce God’s pending judgment against them.  But Jonah wanted nothing to do with God’s plans.  In defiance, he headed in the opposite direction.  Uncannily, circumstances seemed to fall into place.  Jonah just happened into port when a long-range cargo ship was ready to set sail and they just happened to have room for him and he just happened to have the fare!  He paid his passage and boarded, no doubt thinking that he had successfully eluded God’s command.  He was at peace and headed below to catch some shut-eye.

Have you been there?  God has made it clear that you are to head in a certain direction and do such and such, but to you that is the last thing you want to do.  God’s plan doesn’t make sense to you.  So you head off in another direction.  At first things seem to work out and you are at peace.

But God was not done with Jonah!  He could run, but he could not hide from the God of heaven.  He could sleep, but he would not find rest.  God sent the perfect storm to awake this prophet from his foolish slumber.  What at first seemed like smooth sailing to a distant land was transformed into a hurly-burly tempest.  The storm could not be navigated, no matter what the sailors did.  God would not relent, he had hurled the great wind and he would pin his man.  Jonah did his best to duck and dodge, but the lot was cast, and it fell on him.  It was time to begin to fess up that the fix they were in was his fault.  He not only was running from God, he was defying him.

Guys knowing God’s direction for our lives but doing our own thing can lead to a “but-load” of problems.  Not just for ourselves but for those that travel with us.  God wants our willful obedience and he will pursue us relentlessly, sometimes by hurling storms into our lives so that we will come to our senses.

Have you been there?  Are you there now?  Know this: God disciplines us not to harm us but because he is committed to us.  He wants his sons to become men of faith and valour.

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