“Then said they unto him, ‘What shall we do unto you, that the sea may be calm unto us?’—for the sea raged and was tempestuous.  And he said unto them, ‘Take me up and cast me forth into the sea; so shall the sea be calm unto you—for I know that for my sake this great tempest is upon you.’  Nevertheless, the men rowed hard to bring it to the land; but they could not—for the sea raged and was tempestuous against them.”

Jonah 1:11-13

His all-seeing Eye always knows where we are and His all-powerful Arm has a long reach, even for those who are running from Him.

“Where you headed?”

That’s likely the question the shipmaster asked Jonah that day in Joppa when “he paid the fare thereof” (1:3) and boarded the ship headed for Tarshish, which was in the opposite direction from Nineveh.

Although it’s unlikely Jonah replied “Oh, anywhere but where God wants me to be,” later on he confessed his rebellious ways to his shipmates during the storm (1:8-10).  And, even then, they demonstrated great concern and compassion for him by initially refusing his directive to cast him into the sea, choosing instead to try and “row hard to shore.”

Yet, the wind was too strong and the waves too tall to do so.

And, finally, reluctantly, they “took up Jonah and cast him forth into the sea” (v.15a).  And, then, interestingly, “when the sea ceased from her raging, they feared the Lord exceedingly and offered a sacrifice unto Him and made vows” (vv.15b-16).

Mentally, we know it’s impossible to “run from the Presence of the Lord” (Ps. 139).

Why, then, do we do it?

Likewise, it’s foolish and futile to try and row a boat to shore against hurricane winds and waves; why, then, should one even try it?

But, such is the way of the rebellious and desperate.

And, it’s only when we “reach the end of our rope”. . .and find ourselves at “Wit’s End Corner” (Ps. 107:26-27). . .which may not be inside a whale’s belly, but is always at the corner of Hopelessness and Despair. . .that we’ll “cry out to the Lord” (Ps. 107:28-30) and pray to Him in earnest, brokenhearted contrition (Ps. 51:17).

May the Holy Spirit help us today to remember that true rest is found in our “communion-union” with Christ (Mt. 11:28-30).  It’s only when we’re running TO the Lord that we find His Arms strong and His Will sweet.  All other efforts will only end in dead-end streets and a weariness of mind, heart and soul.

Why not pause right now and thank God for the storms you’ve been going through?  Do not see them as punishment; instead, view them as His intervening Grace that’s brought you to the end of yourself so that you can find in Him everything you need.  Then, like Jonah, “sacrifice unto Him with the voice of thanksgiving” (2:9) as you “give thanks in everything” (I Thess. 5:18)—knowing He’ll work “everything together for good as you as you love Him and fulfill His purpose for your life” (Rom. 8:28).

By Tom Smith Morning Manna Dated October 10, 2010

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